LOS ANGELES — The first TV series to go dark during the Hollywood writers' strike were also among the first to return to the air this week after the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers reached a tentative deal to end the monthslong work stoppage.
Late-night TV hosts Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert premiered their first episodes in five months of their respective shows on Monday, while John Oliver came back on Sunday. The comedians, all of whom are also writers, each addressed the resolution of the labor dispute in their own way — after enthusiastically welcoming back and soaking in the thunderous applause from their studio audiences, of course.
Consistent with the watchdog tone of his program, Oliver gave the major studios a piece of his mind while celebrating the culmination of the writers' strike, which lasted 148 days, on HBO's "Last Week Tonight."
"The Writers Guild went on strike and thankfully won, but it took a lot of sacrifices from a lot of people to achieve that," Oliver said.
"And while I'm happy that they eventually got a fair deal and immensely proud of what our union accomplished, I'm also furious that it took the studios 148 days to achieve a deal that they could have offered on day f— one."
Oliver also encouraged other workers in the entertainment industry and beyond to "find power in each other" and stand up to their employers. He specifically voiced support for the Hollywood crew members union, IATSE, and the performers union, SAG-AFTRA, which is currently on strike.
"I really hope the actors union and IATSE ... will be able to take what the writers achieved and leverage it to win fair contracts for themselves too," Oliver said. "Because the truth is, it takes many people working really hard to make film and TV — all of whom deserve a piece of the pie."
Kimmel also advocated for his "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" crew members "and all the union crews who supported the writers" by refusing to cross the picket line — "and we owe them for that," he added.
"This is a big win for the little guy and a big win for the chubby guy and the hairy dude and the weird girl who doesn't make eye contact," Kimmel quipped.
"For the two potheads in the 'Star Wars' T-shirts that are too small for their bodies and the guy who's too old to have a ponytail and the lady whose cats each have their own Instagram pages. We call them writers, and they are all back to work. Thank you."
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