NBC's Late-Night Shows To Return to Airwaves Jan. 2 Letterman Could Follow Soon Associated Press December 17, 2007 2:23 p.m. NEW YORK -- Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien will return to late-night television with fresh episodes on Jan. 2, two months after the writers' strike sent them into repeats, NBC said Monday. The "Tonight" show and "Late Night" will return without writers supplying jokes. NBC, which is a unit of General Electric, said the decision was similar to what happened in 1988, when Johnny Carson brought back the "Tonight" show two months into a writers' strike. A similar return -- with writers -- appears in the works for David Letterman. The union representing striking writers said over the weekend that it was willing to negotiate deals with individual production companies, including Mr. Letterman's Worldwide Pants. Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central has also been shut down during the strike. "Both Jay and Conan have supported their writers during the first two months of this WGA [Writers Guild of America] strike and will continue to support them," said Rick Ludwin, executive vice president, late night and primetime series for NBC. "However, there are hundreds of people who will be able to return to work as a result of Jay's and Conan's decision."