"Tonight Show" host Jay Leno could face disciplinary action from the Writers Guild of America for writing his monologue while the nearly 2-month-old writers strike continues.
Leno, a member of the guild, met Thursday with WGA West President Patric Verrone to discuss his decision to pen his opening segment. NBC's "The Tonight Show" had resumed the taping of new shows Wednesday.
During the meeting, Leno was told that "writing for 'The Tonight Show' constitutes a violation of the [WGA] strike rules,' the WGA said in a statement.
NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" also returned this week without their writers, but the hosts of those shows -- also WGA members -- have not openly defied the union's restrictions about writing during the strike.
"[Leno] was pretty flagrant in saying he wrote his monologue," said Sherry Goldman, a spokeswoman for WGA East. "The other hosts ... found a way around it."
The WGA worked out a deal last week with Worldwide Pants, the production company of CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" and "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," to resume new shows with their writing staffs on board.
It's not yet clear what would happen to Leno if he continues to write monologues in the midst of the strike, but he could be brought before the WGA's disciplinary committee, Goldman said.
On the first night of new shows this week, Leno's show easily won its battle with Letterman, garnering a 5.3 rating and 12 audience share in the 55 largest U.S. television markets. Letterman's "Late Show" scored a 4.3 rating and 10 share.
Fucking Leno, show some respect for your writers and your union. It's gonna be pretty awkward at the writer's table when this strike is over, huh?