HEEEEERE'S JAY, DAVID, CONAN, & CRAIG

Jay Leno, appearing on his first live Tonight show since the writers' strike began two months ago, surprised viewers by delivering a funny monologue that, he admitted during the course of it, he had written himself. Although Leno said, "We are following the guild thing. ... We can write for ourselves," the WGA's strike rules specifically prohibits "all writing by any Guild member that would be performed on-air by that member (including monologues, characters, and featured appearances) if any portion of that written material is customarily written by striking writers." Each of the late-night hosts asserted that they support the striking writers. At one point, David Letterman, whose Worldwide Pants company negotiated a separate agreement with the WGA, said, "You're watching the only show on the air that has jokes written by union writers." He then added, "I hear you at home thinking to yourself, 'This crap is written?'" On his show, however, Jimmy Kimmel, while also voicing support for the writers, criticized their tactics in targeting Leno and O'Brien: "I don't want to depart too much from the party line, but I think it's ridiculous. Jay Leno, he paid his staff while they were out. Conan did the same thing. I don't know. I just think at a certain point you back off a little bit." Kimmel also introduced a new feature called "Greatest Moments for Which Residual Payments Are Made to Our Unemployed Writers," intended to present segments of previous projects so that the writers who created them can receive residuals. Craig Ferguson's entire show featured such material. All of which raised the question, did the late-night writers receive residuals during the previous two months while the shows were being rerun -- and won't now? (Most late-night episodes are never rerun and therefore writers on them rarely receive residuals.) NBC did not respond to an email inquiry concerning residual payments to writers and performers during the strike -- but the question could raise debate about the inherent fairness of the residual system if striking workers in the industry have continued to receive payments while other workers, who do not traditionally receive residuals, ranging from top cinematographers, lighting directors and special-effects creators to grips, production assistants, and engineers have not.

LATEST SPIN ON GLOBES

Reports spread on numerous Internet sites on Wednesday that the Writers Guild of America was close to negotiating a deal with the producers of the Golden Globes telecast that would allow it to use guild writers when it airs on Jan. 13. However, late in the day the WGA put the kibosh on those rumors when it said that it intends to picket the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where the awards will be handed out. "Dick Clark Productions is a struck company. As previously announced, the Writers Guild will be picketing the Golden Globe Awards," the WGA said. The Screen Actors Guild then indicated that it will ask its members not to cross the WGA picket lines unless they have contractual obligations to the show's producers, Dick Clark Productions. Reporting on the WGA's plans to strike the telecast, Daily Variety commented, "The move underlines WGA leaders' commitment to use bare-knuckle tactics via the strike to bring the Hollywood establishment to its knees."

WIRELESS SYSTEMS TO ELIMINATE CORDS ON FLAT TV SETS

Three different wireless-technology systems, each of which will enable wall-mounted, flat-panel TVs to be displayed without unsightly wires hanging from them are expected to be displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show, which opens Monday in Las Vegas, the Associated Press reported today (Thursday). The leading system, the wire service said, is called WirelessHD, being offered by a consortium of home-electronics companies, including Sony and Toshiba, the two companies whose incompatible high-definition video players are vying with for dominance in the marketplace. (AP said that Intel may announce today that it will join the group.) Other electronics manufacturers showing off similar wi-fi TV technologies will be Pulse-Link and LG Electronics.

LEGENDARY AD EXEC DUSENBERRY DEAD AT 71

Philip B. Dusenberry, who created the Pepsi slogan "The choice of a new generation" and General Electric's "We bring good things to life" died of lung cancer Saturday in New York at age 71, the ad agency BBDO said Wednesday. Regarded as a legend in advertising, Dusenberry once wrote a book entitled "Then We Set His Hair on Fire: Insights and Accidents From a Hall-of-Fame Career in Advertising," the title referring to the production of a 1984 spot for Pepsi in which Michael Jackson's hair was accidentally set afire.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.