A number of notable talk show hosts made the controversial choice to cross picket lines and not grow out a strike beard during last year's WGA strike, Jay Leno and Ellen DeGeneres among them.
Both earned the scorn of the writers they betrayed, but at least Ellen made some gesture of solidarity by foregoing the monologue entirely. Leno, on the other hand—being the very giant-chinned embodiment of American can-do spirit—simply pushed up his blazer sleeves and wrote his monologues himself.
Being a WGA member, however, this was a direct violation of Guild guidelines, eliciting this terse wrist-slapping from the union: "A discussion took place today between Jay Leno and the Writers Guild to clarify to him that writing for The Tonight Show constitutes a violation of the Guilds' strike rules."
Now, one year later, the WGA is still peeved enough to be mulling a disciplinary action against Leno for peddling his stash of strictly contraband Dick Cheney and L.A. weather jokes. Variety reports:
It's understood that the guild has brought disciplinary proceedings against Leno, who is a Writers Guild of America member and writer for his NBC latenighter. The specifics of the proceedings are unclear, but the process should come to a head soon. [...]
That discipline may include "expulsion or suspension from guild membership, imposition of monetary fines or censure," according to the WGA's strike rules. There is also an appeals process.
We suspect this is more symbolic gesture than disciplinary measure—a premonitory, three-day-old carp wrapped in newsprint and left on the hood of one of Leno's old-timey gangster cars, as if to say, "Congratulations on the 10 p.m. strip, Leno. Now keep our guilded gag writers knee-deep in Funny Headlines, or Stuttering John sleeps with the fishes."
- WGA may discipline Jay Leno [Variety]