While the writers of WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike in Hollywood, the time off has not been kind to “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, who has received criticism for his conduct on set. Present and past employees told Rolling Stone last week that Fallon and other execs had made the workplace poisonous with their “erratic conduct.” In a Zoom chat with the crew, Fallon apologized for the charges, said he was embarrassed by them, and had no intention of creating a hostile work environment.
The Rolling Stone article appeared on the same day as Fallon’s 3rd installment of a new podcast.
While on strike, the late-night anchors stay busy with a podcast called “Strike Force Five,” which Fallon co-hosts with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and John Oliver.
The podcast’s hosts reflected on the original motivation for creating the show– a way to financially support their staff while work is stalled. Despite the podcast’s popularity, industry sources predict that it will not bring in enough money from ads to pay the salary of the whole show’s production staff. Mint Mobile, founded by Ryan Reynolds, and Casamigos, a tequila company once owned by George Clooney and Rande Gerber and now controlled by Diageo, provide financial support to the comic titans.
The WGA strike in May caused a blackout of late-night television, with some hosts reportedly paying their employees out of their wallets. According to Sarah Kobos, the “Tonight Show’s” senior picture research coordinator, Fallon was able to negotiate a third week of compensation, an extension of his health insurance coverage until September, and a second week of pay from NBC. At the end of the month, she said that all non-writer, non-union personnel will be placed on “unpaid leave of absence” for the duration of the strike.
Striking WGA members and the AMPTP are still at odds with one another. Since the strike started, the AMPTP has made one proposal, and the WGA has issued a counterproposal, but neither guild has taken any action. The guild is also open to negotiating with studios separately from the AMPTP.