WGA Scolds Carson Daly For Returning 'To Support Staff' And Seeking Scab Jokes

dalychimp.JPGI should start this post by noting that everyone I know, young and old, doesn't get lunkhead NBC's Last Call host Carson Daly's appeal. Indeed, I've seen chimps with better TV charisma and good looks and interviewing skills. And yet NBC at the time was so delighted about hiring him just because he dated starlets and pop stars and smarmed MTV. So the network is more enthusiastic than ever now that Daly today announced that he is the first of the late night hosts returning to the air despite the ongoing writers walkout. He plans to resume taping Wednesday for new episodes that will begin airing next week. "He wanted to go back to support his staffers," the network spokeswoman said. NBC has informed the non-writing staff of Daly's show, as well as Jay Leno's and Conan O'Brien's, that they face layoffs at the end of this week unless the shows return to the airwaves. (Meanwhile, NBC is so desperate to get Leno back behind The Tonight Show desk that it's humiliating him with "vintage" episodes which should be destroyed, not aired.)

Tonight, the striking Writers Guild of America issued this statement of criticism: “We’re disappointed at Carson Daly’s decision to return to work. Mr. Daly is not a writer and not a member of the WGA, unlike other late-night hosts Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, and Jimmy Kimmel, who have all resisted network pressure and honored our writers’ picket lines.  We hope he’ll change his mind and follow the lead of the other late-night hosts.”

The late night shows have not been in production during the entire November sweeps. Since the repeats don’t generate the same ratings as original shows, the networks have to give sponsors free spots or “give backs” at a cost of millions. Ergo all the pressure from CBS and NBC and ABC on its late night hosts. So the fact that Dave, Jay, Conan, Craig and Jimmy -- all members of the WGA, which Carson is not -- have stayed out much longer than anyone thought would happen (especially in light of 1988) is a major concern to the networks and a major boon to the WGA.

But back to Daly. Today he's also accused of setting up a "joke hotline" as a strike breaking effort -- prompting the WGA to scold "We’re especially appalled at Mr. Daly’s call for non-Guild writers to provide him with jokes." The Smoking Gun published an email purportedly from Daly detailing how he asked a small group of contacts to call in "suggested jokes" to a telephone hotline, noting that he would "play some, most, or all of your jokes on the air." The bit, Daly stressed, was not meant to "make fun" of his striking writers. He added that his goal was to just "play a fun collage of random people trying to 'help me out.'" The bit's set-up, Daly wrote in his Sunday night e-mail was that "the devastating writers strike" led to "A TON of my friends and family...calling me, leaving messages, offering their help with jokes because they know that I don't have any writers working and hosting a late night show without them will be nearly impossible for me." It's all online, barf bag not included.


  1. Ok. Let me get this right. Carson Daly is NOT a writer…he’s NOT a member of WGA. Please tell me why he’s considered to by a scab and “crossing the picketline”? If you want to call it anything, it’s just bad manners.

    Comment by Ben — November 27, 2007 @ 6:18 pm

  2. yep. i received this email from someone on the show yesterday. what you squares don’t recognize is that it’s The CD! C DAZE! C fucking DALY. give a bro-ham a break, yoze.

    Comment by dryology — November 27, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

  3. Carson Daly? I’m sorry who is he? 1:30 AM Eastern Time? NBC? Who needs jokes when the show is a joke. I’m doing it for the crew? C’mon Carson. You should have asked for people to call in with excuses to help you justify crossing the line. Let me help you. “It’s not about the money.” “There’s a hungry artist trapped inside me and it has to eat.” Or, the best approach might be honesty. “I’m crossing the WGA picket line and scab writing because it’s all about me, I have no pride,I have no integrity, I have no dignity but most of all, I am desperately afraid to be off the air because, above all I have no talent.

    Comment by John D. — November 27, 2007 @ 6:22 pm

  4. carson daly doing comedy…kinda like my dog running for president. i don’t get why NBC is backing Jimmy Fallon to replace Conan, either. they need to get a fresh voice like Joel McHale from The Soup or a talented writer/performer.

    Comment by Jonny NY — November 27, 2007 @ 6:36 pm


    Comment by Thomas — November 27, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  6. I hate Carson he’s a no talent jerk but he’s doing the right thing here. Yes he’s getting publicity for himself but he’s also getting his crew and staff back to work. Leno should never have gone on strike. Letterman is at least paying his crew’s salaries until January. All these late night guys should go back to work. They aren’t really depriving their networks of any income because they get just as much for commercial time when they show the reruns.

    They should only have stayed out two weeks and resumed new shows this week. If this isn’t settled by January they will all be back on the air they can’t stay out with the primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire upcoming. Daily Show should go back on the air next week as well. Jon could just show clips of each day’s news and if he can’t think of something funny to say he’s not worth all that much. Most of the clips are ironic and funny on their own. So props to Carson even though he’s still an arrogant no-talent putz.

    Comment by Anonymous — November 27, 2007 @ 6:39 pm

  7. Not that I’d ever want to defend the talentless, but just to play devil’s advocate, the email does seem to suggest that the intention wasn’t to scab… simply to do a bit (with, as he requests, terribly hacky jokes) that would then highlight just how important the writers are to his show.

    I don’t see anything wrong with the email. Carson on the other hand…

    Comment by Ted — November 27, 2007 @ 6:40 pm

  8. Oh, lighten up! This is the same thing Letterman did when he came back a month after the 88 strike — a self effacing, gratuitous time-filler acknowledging his need for writers.

    Comment by Dave — November 27, 2007 @ 6:40 pm

  9. What’s wrong with his dad calling that number to tell an F’ing knock knock joke? Carson isn’t in the guild. He’s not calling on ANYONE to write scripted material. People need to calm the F down and realize there are more important issues to debate about other than this strike.

    Comment by BINGO — November 27, 2007 @ 6:46 pm

  10. Wow, people are getting behind Carson. I’m shocked that anyone cares one way or the other. He’s not blessed with much talent and he’ll probably be replaced soon. This will hurt him in the end!

    Comment by Cynic — November 27, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  11. and what is with the permanent dirt smudge where a lip or even a mustache would go?

    Comment by Nancy — November 27, 2007 @ 7:08 pm

  12. So let me get this one straight… It’s alright for series actors to continue doing their McShows, as long as they drop by the picket line for photo shoots during their lunch, it’s alright for some show runners to go back to producing work because it’s supposedly getting producers back to the table. But Carson, a non-wga member coming back to do his inconsequential show and put a crew of 75-100 back to work and pitching a hokey bit where he’s got to have his friends write jokes is the worst thing ever?

    I really hope some of you, once a deal is done and the emotion of all this dies down, look back at some of the things you’ve written here and do a little self-examination.

    Comment by what hypocrites — November 27, 2007 @ 7:09 pm

  13. Frankly, I could care less about CD and all these “it’s horrible!”/”get the fuck over it!” comments are giving me headaches. All I want for Christmas is the writers getting a fair deal and fast, Nikki.

    Comment by Caitlin — November 27, 2007 @ 7:24 pm

  14. That Carson Daly show is painful to watch even with his writing staff.

    Carson is a no-talent cheese-dick who should be thankful he ever even got that gig.

    I don’t think he should go back to work, but who the hell will notice if he did anyway?!

    Comment by TAG — November 27, 2007 @ 7:30 pm

  15. This isn’t news. Daly isn’t in the WGA. Get back to reporting on what matters - the progress of the talks!

    Comment by Anonymous — November 27, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

  16. Okay, so the bit is “look how much I need writers!” Simple question: how do you think Carson Daly’s writers feel about this bit?

    Of course Carson himself is not a scab. He’s a jerk. Because if he’s hiring people to do any kind of writing, he is telling his writers, “F*** You.” So it’s actually pretty offensive that he wraps it up in a bulls**t self-effacing “look how much I need my writers” bit.

    BTW, the bit is not simply bad jokes to make fun of. “Quicker jokes will work well as will ‘classic’ or ‘hacky’ ones OR if you’ve got a homerun, let ‘er rip.”

    CD wants it all, baby!

    Finally, save the comparisons to Johnny and Dave in ‘88. Johnny waited two and half MONTHS, Letterman THREE and a half. Carson Daly waited a whole three weeks.

    It’s his right to do it, sure, but come on. This ain’t right.

    Comment by Steve — November 27, 2007 @ 7:51 pm

  17. Jonny NY wrote: “they need to get a fresh voice like Joel McHale from The Soup”

    Are you kidding me? You managed to find the one person in showbiz who is less talented than Carson Daly. Joel McHale’s “riffs” on The Soup are unfunny and usually incoherent. I’ve never seen someone so in love with himself in a city of people in love with themselves. That guy is the number one hack on the planet.

    Comment by Anon writer — November 27, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

  18. I’m not disappointed in the bit…it’s just a (bad) joke. I’m sad that Carson decided that for him the strike lasted a month.

    Why did he stop his show in the first place? What has changed now?

    Our cause was worth supporting, but only for a short period of time.

    Comment by Satti — November 27, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

  19. Everyone seems to be accepting NBC’s argument that Carson Daly just wants to get his staff back to work. Trust me, this guy doesn’t give a crap about anyone but himself. I know people on that staff, and while they want to work, none of them will tell you that this is a good human.

    Comment by sick of sheep — November 27, 2007 @ 8:05 pm

  20. The fact that Carson Daly isn’t a writer misses the point. The fact that he is a talentless bore also misses the point. What matters is that he is inviting others to scab by soliciting material. The fact that Daly also doesn’t understand why crossing a picket line is tantamount to scabbing is just another display of his ignorance. By taking this action Daly has shown a total disregard if not contempt for his own writing staff.

    Comment by Bonnie Garvin — November 27, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

  21. Whoever said the networks are still making money for late night commercials is woefully short-sighted.
    Because the hosts have stayed out in support of their writers, the late night shows have not been in production during the entire November sweeps, which is when commericial ad rates are set for the next three months. The lower ratings that repeats generate mean lower prices for commercials down the road and cost the networks millions. And if the shows don’t generate a certain guaranteed ratings number (set during the last sweeps period), the networks have to give the sponsors free spots or “give backs”, costing them even more millions. So, this is hardly no big deal. The fact that the hosts have stayed out much longer than anyone thought will ultimately settle this strike earlier rather than later. The irony of all this is that the late night writers were the first ones affected and the only writers who will never recover the income they lost.

    Comment by mackherron — November 27, 2007 @ 8:27 pm

  22. Carson Daly still has a show? Really? OK. Let him write his own material and scab up himself. He is a scab expert since he dated Tara Reid. Let Daly work, his dealer needs the money.

    Comment by ReelBusy — November 27, 2007 @ 8:33 pm

  23. Nikki is right, Carson Daly is a lunkhead. We had a show that we were going to pitch to NBC earlier this year but we figured they’d insist on having Carson be a part of it so we took it to another network and got picked up. The host of our show actually has talent and as soon as the strike is over we’re back up and running. In closing, a plea: please G-d don’t let Carson take over Conan’s show…

    Comment by Walk The Line — November 27, 2007 @ 8:48 pm

  24. He’s a douchebag.

    Comment by Fussy Protocol Droid — November 27, 2007 @ 9:12 pm

  25. Seriously. Although he is a talentless, self-serving ass, I agree with the majority of posters. He isn’t WGA. It isn’t even newsworthy.

    Comment by EdB — November 27, 2007 @ 9:14 pm

  26. “They aren’t really depriving their networks of any income because they get just as much for commercial time when they show the reruns.”

    Well, yeah. Except for the fact that ratings are way, way, down for these reruns, the ad rates will be slashed soon if they haven’t been already, and the studios can’t effectively promote their product with one of the biggest promotional seasons of the year upon us, which they really kind of rely on. Other than that, though, good point. These shows aren’t called cash cows that generate pure revenue for the networks for nothing.

    Please, AMPTP, can you hire some smarter trolls or at least outfit them with semi-intelligent talking points?

    Comment by Anon — November 27, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

  27. “Johnny waited two and half MONTHS”

    Yes, but he also had scabs secretly writing his material when he claimed he was going to honor WGA rules and write the whole show on his own. Not acceptable under any circumstances.

    Comment by Anon — November 27, 2007 @ 9:26 pm

  28. He’s a hack of course Daly would be the first and hopefully only one to brake ranks. He’s always been a studio whipping boy and he has no point of view, he’s vacant. Anyone who could host TRL should not be trusted to have a soul or dignity which he has proved by being a scab! I was shocked he even stopped for a while.

    Comment by Audio Verite — November 27, 2007 @ 9:33 pm

  29. This is Carson ensuring he gets the 12:30 spot when Leno leaves NBC next year.

    Got to keep the Bosses Happy!

    Comment by No Fan — November 27, 2007 @ 9:59 pm

  30. carson daly is a major tool.

    and this just proves it.

    Comment by dj shiva — November 27, 2007 @ 10:44 pm

  31. Because the hosts have stayed out in support of their writers, the late night shows have not been in production during the entire November sweeps, which is when commericial ad rates are set for the next three months.

    Um, no. Study up on your TV knowledge. Sweeps are when *local* TV stations set their ad rates — and only in smaller markets where Nielsen still uses diaries. (The network O and Os are mostly in major markets where local people meters measure ratings every day of the year, so sweeps are no longer necessary.) Nationally, people meters have been in place since 1987. If you haven’t noticed, demographic ratings are available every day. Networks only program to sweeps to assist their affiliates.

    And P.S., why are none of you complaining about other shows that haven’t gone dark? Why does Carson get all the hate, but not The “View” ladies, or the “Dancing with the Star” folks? Look at how many people have crossed the picket lines in those instances. If you’re gonna hate on Carson, it’s only fair to criticize others too.

    Comment by TV101 — November 27, 2007 @ 11:10 pm

  32. LateNight with Youtube or The Jackass Show would be a great addition to the lineup.

    Comment by GF — November 27, 2007 @ 11:55 pm

  33. This is a lame non-story about the lamest “star” ever, but it serves a purpose; maybe having nothing but Carson ad libbing will convince people that we really need the writrs back - like, NOW.

    This is the type of entertainment we have to look forward to people - Carson F-ing Daly. This is the future without writers.

    Comment by sidelined — November 28, 2007 @ 12:05 am

  34. Looks like Carson sent that email to about 30 people. You know, his entire audience…

    Comment by Anonymous — November 28, 2007 @ 12:17 am

  35. The ad rates will go right back up to where they were. Advertisers know what sweeps months are. Re-runs during this current sweeps month won’t change a thing. Do you really think NBC is going to lose money if Leno stays off the air? Sorry not a dime.

    Letterman takes one week off every month. He only works 40 weeks a year anyway. Does CBS “lose money” during those 12 weeks that Dave is off the air? Leno takes a week off every 5 or 6 weeks he works slightly more than Dave does. Does NBC lose money when Jay is on the road doing his stand-up act during those vacation weeks?

    And if he can do his stand-up act four nights a week which he does why can’t he tell jokes on the air and interview celebs? Nice that he’s being loyal to his writers but Jay makes more money every year doing Vegas and corporate gigs than he makes from the Tonight Show. He’s even said as much. The only real losers are the crews who aren’t lucky enough to be working for Letterman.

    And while it’s true that Universal can’t put their movie stars on Leno or Conan to plug their upcoming holiday releases and Paramount can’t do the same with their stars on the CBS late night shows they are doing other things to fill in the gaps. Advertising revenue is like water it flows to other streams when one stream is blocked.

    You can be certain that both Universal and Paramount are spending the same if not more to make up the difference. And when Universal “buys” airtime on the Tonight Show the money doesn’t go anywhere it goes “from Universal to NBC.” Same with Paramount money “going to CBS.” All it does is move from one account to another account. Both accounts are part of the same vertically integrated conglomerate.

    Comment by Anonymous — November 28, 2007 @ 12:20 am

  36. actually, ad rates DO go down with reruns. they also don’t deliver on the ratings guarantees - so it really does hurt the networks. of course, generally carson is added “free” ad time so it doesn’t really matter. the interesting thing is that media buyers (and clients) who back the writers will blackball his disgusting ass by buying around him - for a very long time. it’s pretty easy.

    Comment by ad chick — November 28, 2007 @ 12:58 am

  37. Come on, you wussies stop posting at 9:59???? What’s the matter, you have to drive Joshua to his $13,000 a year pre-school in the morning? This proves none of you have even seen Carson and are completely unqualified to say anything disparaging about him.

    Comment by Edgar — November 28, 2007 @ 1:32 am

  38. Did you ever consider that NBC said, “Carson, if you don’t return by November 28th, we consider your non-performance as grounds for dismissal”? It’s in an act of self-preservation.

    Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon has been rubbing his grubby little hands together waiting to see how this plays out.

    Comment by Here's a thought... — November 28, 2007 @ 3:07 am

  39. re: Anonymous saying, “Do you really think NBC is going to lose money if Leno stays off the air? Sorry not a dime.”
    Dear Anonymous,
    You’re an idiot. You don’t know what you’re talking about. The nets are losing money with late night shows off the air. Your research sucks, because the fact is Leno is the biggest moneymaker for NBC. Leno as well as Letterman, Conan, Stewart, Fersuson & Kimmel are staying off the air to help end this strike faster. If you don’t understand this, it’s sad. And if you want to complain to someone, call the studios who obviously don’t give a shit about anyone including you.

    Comment by Connie — November 28, 2007 @ 6:33 am

  40. I can’t believe people feel the need to hate someone so much for no good reason. It’s embarrassing to see.

    Comment by S — November 28, 2007 @ 7:34 am

  41. A completely unfounded rumor is that the wizards the built Mr. Lincoln for Disney are secretly working in a clandestine lab in East Toluca Lake to create a new animatronic Johnny Carson for NBC.

    Their primary concern is that their current version is powered by a coal power plant located on the backlot of NBC and that power sourcet lowers their Carbon Footprint Quota (CFQ) below the existing national Gore threshold.

    At this time the wizards are urgently attempting to create a hybrid powered Carson, known as the Johnny 2, that works on solar cells imbedded in the back of his head.

    One growing concerning is that any “cute” stage animals brought by guests that have a tendency to relief themselves on the Johnny 2 might short it out, causing a fire and the resulting smoke would render all their work on reducing the CFQ to that of a diesel bus.

    The other Carson D model was an earlier attempt at creating a Johnny 1 that was discarded at the Burbank dump.

    It appears some homeless person or a producer (they have a Mercedes instead of a shopping cart) must have discovered this discarded Johnny 1 and reactivated it for some diabolical purpose to suit their own gains.


    Comment by pb — November 28, 2007 @ 9:59 am

  42. The WGA has every right to be appalled at his decision to go back to work and have a “joke hotline.” Yes it’s nice for his staffers to go back to earning their salaries because the network won’t pay them and that is understood, but the fact that he is crossing the line is unacceptable. The issue is bigger than Daly seems to understand; the other hosts know this seeing as though they actually come from (comedic) writing backgrounds. Bravo to them for standing behind their talented writing teams (and most of all to Letterman for paying his non-writing staff out of his own pocket during this mess).

    On a side note, Daly really shouldn’t even be doing ‘comedy’ bits anyway. He doesn’t have a comedy resume nor does he possess the timing or personality needed to execute his ‘jokes.’ If his show was strictly 30 minutes of interviews, as it was intended to be when it began in 02, it actually might be watchable.

    Comment by Brendan — November 28, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

  43. Just who is Carson Daly going to get as guests on his lame talk show? I doubt many of the actors will want to cross the picket line to go on a show at 1:30 in the morning.

    Comment by LB — November 29, 2007 @ 12:27 pm

  44. At least Carson Daly isn’t two faced like Leno. Leno promised his staff and crew everything would be ok. Now the staff has not seen Jay for 4 weeks. they may put his photo on a milk carton. “Have you seen this joke of a man?” And who is Jay taking care of? HIS RICH WRITERS! Leno is paying these guys who are already millionaires, while Leno’s staff is laid off tomorrow!

    Maybe Carson is crossing the picket line for his crew. These people live paycheck to paycheck.

    Comment by Jerry Kile — November 29, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

  45. You guys don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve worked with Carson and he TRUELY does care about his crew. His is an average guy who hasn’t let the Hollywood BS get to his head. There are a lot of people hurting because of the strike.

    Comment by Hotdog — November 29, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

  46. What’s the problem with chimps? I find them much more interesting than most of the clones on TV today.

    Comment by Amundsen — November 30, 2007 @ 10:03 am

  47. Good for Carson. Not that I have ever been a fan of his, but it’s about time someone stand up to the WGA bullying. I just watched “The Marine” and was reminded of the fact that 90% of writers put out garbage. The only unfair thing going on here is the monopoly the WGA has on getting writing gigs in this country. Screw them all; bring on the scabs!

    Comment by Ajax — November 30, 2007 @ 10:12 am

  48. First off…last 2 years I didn’t have a TV that could pick up anything other than NBC. Even faced with only one station, I couldn’t stand to watch Carson Daly. There is NO REASON he should do comedy. PLEASE ….WATERBOARDing is less torture than having to watch Carson Daly try to be funny…okay???

    Secondly, strikes suck. Not being able to go to work and not make money sucks. But anyone who works in Hollywood KNOWs that at any moment their job can go away. It’s the nature of the beast. If you don’t wanna risk working in Hollywood, then get a day job at Ross or Target in Rialto. Then you get the idea of how bad life can really suck. Otherwise, shut up about WGA writers trying to get a piece of the pie.

    Lastly, instead of looking for scab writers, maybe Carson should look for scab hosts. Or even better, a scab concept for his show that actually works.

    Comment by Kim — November 30, 2007 @ 10:44 pm

  49. Hey CD, you are a scab! Do not use your jammed staffers as a vehicle for your selfish endeavors,
    OWN IT! You are what you are, a typical stiff, boring, douchecock! Suck it up hack, you’ll always have a gig as long as mainstream media needs a no-talent yes-man.

    Comment by the 9000 — December 13, 2007 @ 6:58 pm

  50. Your behavior really is pathetic, Carson.

    The issue isn’t whether you are technically a scab or just a stupid asshole. The real issue is what are you going to do when your show is cancelled as we all know it will be. So, I say, enjoy your moment. You will have a lot of idle time to reflect on it soon.

    Comment by Philip Halprin — December 13, 2007 @ 8:15 pm

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