Jay Leno and his network NBC are embroiled in a battle with the striking writer’s union over whether the talk show host violated union rules by writing his own monologues.
Leno, who was back on-air for the second time last night in more than a month, was criticized by the Writers Guild of America for writing and delivering his own material.
According to NBC, though, Leno is permitted to write his own monologue. While the guild’s contract expired Oct. 31, says NBC, the current agreement allows that "material written by the person who delivers it on the air” is permissable.
Guild representatives say that Leno is in violation of either "strike rules" or writing while the guild’s contract is expired.
Of the returning late night hosts, Leno was the ratings leader, followed by David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, both of whom gained viewers since before the strike.
Said Leno of the monologue controversy, "We are following the guild thing. We can write for ourselves.”