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Home Entertainment Five late-night hosts will debut podcast to benefit striking writers

Five late-night hosts will debut podcast to benefit striking writers


Five late-night talk show hosts are uniting for a podcast that will financially benefit their employees who have been affected by the Hollywood writers strike.

Usually daily competitors on late-night television, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and John Oliver have teamed up for a podcast titled “Strike Force Five,” which will debut Wednesday. All proceeds from the podcast, which will have at least 12 episodes, will go to the out-of-work staffs from the five shows, Spotify announced Tuesday.

The shows ceased production after the Writers Guild of America, a union of more than 11,000 movie and television writers, declared its strike on May 2. Two months later, the 160,000 performers of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) joined, making it a historic double strike that has brought Hollywood to a halt.

The organizations are striking over similar issues, including wages, residuals and the use of artificial intelligence.

While performers and writers work toward a deal with studios, “Strike Force Five” will support the staff members of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”

The series is being sponsored by the phone service provider Mint Mobile and beverage company Diageo.

The inspiration for the podcast came in May, when the five hosts started meeting weekly to talk about the strikes, Spotify said in its news release, adding that the podcast would offer fans a chance to “listen in on these once-private chats.”

Colbert, Fallon, Kimmel, Meyers and Oliver will rotate as moderators, Spotify said. The hosts have expressed their support for the strike, including in segments that aired before the shows went on hiatus.

In a segment before his late-night show was halted, Meyers said he was grateful for his staffers, quipping that strong writing is “essential to any show where the host, myself, is at best a C-plus performer.”

“For those people who have a job in show business, they are entitled to fair compensation,” Meyers said. “They are entitled to make a living. I think it’s a very reasonable demand that is being set up by the guild, and I support those demands.”

In another early May segment, Colbert also said he thought the writers’ demands were “not unreasonable,” adding that without them, “The Late Show” would be titled “The Late Show with a guy rambling about Lord of the Rings and boats for an hour.”

“I support collective bargaining,” Colbert said. “This nation owes so much to unions.”

A description for the podcast’s trailer said for fans who listen, it will be akin to watching a “football team with five quarterbacks on the field at once.”

“Listen now, it’s the right thing to do,” the description said.

POST AUTHOR: Praveena Somasundaram

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