David Letterman's production company Worldwide Pants is—we believe—the first to reach an agreement with the Writers Guild of America for internet royalties. Since The Late Show and The Late Late Show are owned, not by CBS but Letterman's own company, the show was able to circumvent CBS negotiations altogether and settle with the WGA without setting major broadcast-wide precedents.
So when all these talk-format entertainment shows come back (Leno, Jon Stewart, etc), Letterman will have a competitive advantage that we can't help but to sympathise with at least a little: he will have his full staff of writers behind him.
Of course, CBS isn't too happy about the agreement...
Because while CBS doesn't own The Late Show, they do license rights for electronic distribution. So it's hard to imagine how the undisclosed agreement between Worldwide Pants and the WGA accounts for this arrangement. CBS clarified that they will not comply with third party agreements.
But for now, it's a small, needed victory for the WGA and, of course, your hungry, hungry television sets (which are in no way affiliated with the domestic breed of hippos).
Mr. Letterman, we'll be tuning in. [nyt]