There’s more to “The Tonight Show’s” strike story than we previously thought, TheWrap has learned.
After research coordinator Sarah Kobos called out NBC for only paying the “Tonight Show” staff through the end of the week as the WGA strike unfolds, the show’s crew will now be paid by NBC through the end of next week. Fallon is expected to pay his staff a third week out of his own pocket. “Late Night with Seth Meyers” will also follow suit with Meyers paying his staff for a third week.
“I have a very good update! We ended up having our production meeting this morn too and @jimmyfallon was there. He got NBC to give us a second week of pay, and he will be paying us himself for a third week. We also are going to have healthcare extended through Sept,” Kobos wrote on Twitter.
A source close to “The Tonight Show” confirmed that NBC will be paying the staffers through the end of next week and that Fallon will be covering the salaries of his staff for a third week. Additionally, insurance will run until September.
Kobos initially tweeted that NBC would only be paying its staff through the end of this week. The same source close to production confirmed that this conversation did happen during a standard daily production meeting that took place less than 12 hours after the announcement of the WGA strike. During that meeting, network representatives emphasized that the situation was evolving. Kobos “prematurely” tweeted out information as the situation was still coming together.
On Wednesday morning, Fallon joined the daily production call to tell his staff the good news. It’s too early to say if “The Tonight Show” will pay its staffers beyond this three-week mark, but Fallon has been vocal about advocating for his staff.
That’s not the only late night pay extension at NBC. TheWrap can now confirm that NBC will pay the staffs of “Late Night with Seth Meyers” through the end of next week. Just like Fallon, Meyers is expected to pay his staff for a third week and their insurance will extend through September.
NBC declined to comment to TheWrap on this story.
Following the announcement of the WGA strike on May 2, late night has gone dark. “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and “Saturday Night Live” have all shut down and will be replaying reruns out of respect to the strike. Amidst all this chaos, NBC and Fallon were put under fire thanks to Kobos.
After Fallon spoke out in support of the WGA strike at the Met Gala, the “Tonight Show” staffer took to Twitter to call out her boss. Kobos alleged that while at a meeting Fallon didn’t even attend, NBC told staffers they won’t be paid after this week. “Had fun bowling with ya last week, but a fun party won’t pay my rent,” Kobos wrote on Tuesday. Now it seems there’s at least a bit of runway for these NBC staffs.
It’s a news story that’s eerily reminiscent of 2007. During the mid-2000s writers’ strike, late-night television experienced some of the most noticeable and devastating casualties. Conan O’Brien, David Letterman and Jay Leno personally paid at least part of the salaries of their laid-off staff during this time. That strike lasted 100 days and forever changed the television landscape. While many credit this time period as leading to the rise of reality TV, the resolution of the strike also brought about some of the most innovative TV of all time, including “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men.”
Deadline was the first to report this news.
For all of TheWrap’s WGA strike coverage, click here.
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