Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert joined their late-night comrades Thursday in announcing that they would reluctantly return to the air next month without their writers.
After a previously scheduled two-week hiatus, “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” will resume production Jan. 7, Comedy Central said in a statement released late Thursday afternoon.
“We continue to hold out hope for a swift resolution to the current stalemate that will enable the shows to be complete again,” the network said.
Stewart and Colbert said they wished they could return to work with their writers.
“If we cannot, we would like to express our ambivalence, but without our writers we are unable to express something as nuanced as ambivalence,” the comedians said in a statement.
The decision by the Comedy Central hosts, whose programs have been in reruns since the film and TV writers went on strike Nov. 5, follow announcements by Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Kimmel this week that they would go back on the air in January, even if they had to cross a picket line. NBC’s Carson Daly returned to the air this month.
In contrast with prime-time scripted series that rely on writers, the late-night hosts can theoretically improvise and fill the time with celebrity interviews and musical guests.
The only late-night shows that have not decided to return are CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman” and “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.” Both are owned by Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants Inc., which is meeting with Writers Guild of America officials today in an effort to make an interim deal that would allow the shows to go back on the air with their writing staffs.