The five most famous late-night show hosts came together to create a podcast on Spotify known as the “Strike Force Five” during the Writers Guild of America Strike (WGA).
Launched on Aug. 30, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, John Oliver, Seth Meyers, and Stephen Colbert are the creators of the limited 12-episode podcast. All five late-night hosts will participate in each episode, while the leader of the conversation will rotate.
The hosts’ respective shows, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.”
All the proceeds will go to support the staff from each of their shows, which have all been suspended due to the strike.
WGA is demanding an increased fixed residual and the establishment of a viewership-based residual to reward successful shows.
“What they are asking for is not too much. They are just asking to be properly compensated, and if people realize just because you’re on TV and you write for TV doesn’t mean you are rich. A lot of times, people are living from paycheck to paycheck. Writers and actors, and some directors, you only get money when you are working,” said Yvette Nicole Brown, American Actress, in an Associated Press News Interview.
In the premiere of the first episode, the hosts discussed how they merged and went back and forth via Zoom on how they could support their staff during the strike, and this was the result.
Several co-presenting sponsors of “Strike Force Five” are Mint Mobile, Ryan Reynolds, and alcoholic beverage company Diageo, which includes several popular alcoholic brands.
“I heard about the podcast through social media over the past few months, and even though I am not in the Communication field of study, I understand the strike and support the WGA. I am studying Criminal Justice, and I believe certain career paths are overlooked and are not as recognized even though that’s where a lot of the hard work and behind the scenes come from,” said junior Sophia Brett.
Every time the phrase “Strike Force Five” was uttered, a lightning sound effect would play, and the host would spend the hour-long broadcast talking about whatever they felt. The unpolished delivery, according to Meyers, is a testament to why they genuinely need staff members, including writers and researchers, according to AP News.
“There wasn’t a lot of communication during the last WGA strike between late-night hosts, and as a result, there was a lot of nonsense that went on,” said Kimmel. “So, Stephen suggested we get together and we talk through our issues or whatever we’re dealing with,” stated AP News.
“It’s a very nice and caring thing the hosts are doing to try and provide income for their crew during the strike. It seems, however, that the leadership of the union is not pushing hard enough in the opinion of the strikers. Money is quickly running out, and it seems as though the leadership of the studios has that very outcome in mind,” said Sacred Heart Professor Gregory Golda.
“The studios, like every other industry, are looking at AI to automate their product and maximize profits and minimize their costs. The costs, however, are the well-being of those creatives,” said Golda. The podcast is a nice gesture, but the money will run out. Lives will be crushed, and the writers and other creatives will be completely displaced.”