Jon Stewart Targeting Jan. 7 Return?

We hear from a well-placed but second-hand source that “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart plans to go back on the air Jan. 7. Comedy Central says no decision has been made on whether Stewart and Stephen Colbert will return, and a writer on one of the shows told us they are unaware of any plans. But we hear that all “Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” employees — except for writers — been told to show up for work Jan. 7, whether a strike is resolved or not, and we find this plausible.

Like Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, Stewart and Colbert have sizable non-writing staffs whose jobs are in jeopardy. Leno and Brien cited concern for their employees as the main reason they’re returning to the air Jan. 2. David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants production company is in talks with the writer’s guild on an interim deal that would allow both his show and “The Late Late Show”  to return to air — with their writers — on the same date.

Stewart and Colbert, like Leno and O’Brien, are members of the writer’s guild, and its unclear how much of their own writing they’ll be allowed to do. Rick Ludwin, the exec in charge of NBC’s latenight programs, told the NYTimes that in 1988 the WGA allowed Johnny Carson to write his own material and he’s hoping Leno and O’Brien receive the same courtesy.

Earlier: Latenight Hosts Return; Strike Resolve in February?
Conan, Leno: We’re Going Back To Work (Please Don’t Picket Us)

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