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Deal to end writers' strike means some shows could return to air within days

With a deal between Hollywood writers and the major entertainment studios on a new labor contract moving forward, some television shows may return to air in a matter of days. 

Board members from the writers union on Tuesday approved the pact, bringing the industry at least partly back from a historic halt in production that stretched nearly five months.

The programs likely to return to production first are daytime and late-night TV talk shows, such as NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" and ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and CBS' "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," according to the Associated Press. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, Colbert, Kimmel and Fallon, along with NBC's "Late Night With Seth Meyers" and HBO's "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver," will return to TV on Sunday. Bill Maher, who had planned to return without writers but ended up postponing once last week's negotiations were set, said in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) that his night-time show will return on Friday. 

Late-night slide

The strikes have depressed late-night television viewing, according to the research firm Samba TV. Without Colbert, Fallon and Kimmel on the air, the broadcast networks have seen late-night viewership slide between 40% and 50%, asaid Ashwin Navin, Samba TV co-founder. 

"It remains to be seen how late night will rebound to its previous relevance," he said.

Scripted shows, such as new seasons of Netflix's "Stranger Things" or ABC's "Abbot Elementary," will likely take longer to return because of the ongoing strike by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the union that represents some 65,000 Hollywood actors. 

The Hollywood writers' strike began on May 2 and was the first such action since 2007 for the WGA. At roughly four-and-a-half months, it was the second-longest work stoppage in WGA history behind only the 1988 strike, which lasted 154 days.

Disney CEO Bob Iger and Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos were among several studio chiefs who took part in negotiations, according to the Hollywood Reporter. 

Talks with The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the trade group representing studios such as Disney, Netflix and Paramount — have yet to resume talks, which likely means further delays for those programs (Paramount Pictures, one of the studios involved in the negotiations, and CBS News are both part of Paramount Global. Some CBS News staff are SAG-AFTRA or Writers Guild members, but their contracts are not affected by the strikes.)

Writers Guild deal

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the AMPTP reached a tentative agreement late Sunday. The deal still needs to be completed, and Hollywood writers won't return to work officially until the Guild approves the new contract, the union told its members Sunday. 

The union didn't disclose details of the new deal, tweeting that "more details coming after contract language is finalized." The WGA's council must still approve the pact ahead of holding a vote by its full membership. The guild and AMPTP didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Monday. 

By contrast, contract negotiations between the studios and SAG-AFTRA have yet to resume. The actors union, which began striking in July, said it remains "committed to achieving the necessary terms for our members." The statement added that the union continues "to urge the studio and streamer CEOs and the AMPTP to return to the table and make the fair deal that our members deserve and demand."

When will "Severance" or "Stranger Things" return?

Writers rooms for scripted shows that shut down at the strike's onset, including Netflix's "Stranger Things," "Severance" on Apple TV+ and "Abbott Elementary" on ABC are also likely to reactivate quickly. But with no performers to act out the scripts, long delays between page and screen will be inevitable.

Film writers will also get back to work on their slower timeline, though those working on scripts or late revisions for already scheduled movies — including "Deadpool 3" and "Superman: Legacy" — will certainly be hustling to avoid further release-date delays.

When will "The Drew Barrymore Show" return? 

Drew Barrymore's planned return to her daytime television show became a rallying point for picketers earlier this month, prompting her to cancel her plans. "The Talk" and "The Jennifer Hudson Show," which also employ some screenwriters, also called off plans to return.

Barrymore and the other shows have not announced their plans for returning. However, the WGA has made it clear that guild members cannot start working again on projects until the tentative contract is ratified.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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