Jimmy Fallon among US talk show hosts supporting striking writers

John Oliver joins Writers Guild of America East (WGA) to walk the picket line on day 87 during a ‘comedy writers rally’ outside of NBC Rockefeller Center on July 27, 2023 in New York City.
British comedian John Oliver showed his support at a "comedy writers' rally" in July

US TV's late-night talk show rivals, who have been off air for four months during the Hollywood strike, have joined forces to host a new podcast to raise money for their writers and crew.

Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, John Oliver and Stephen Colbert, have dubbed themselves Strike Force Five for the Spotify series.

They were among the first to go off air when writers went on strike in May.

They then began having private weekly discussions about the situation.

Those conversations, described by Spotify as "hilarious and compelling", spawned the idea for a podcast.

Stephen Colbert serves ice cream as Animation writers, who are members of the Writers Guild of America, continue to picket in front of Warner Brothers/Discovery on July 25, 2023 in New York City
Stephen Colbert handed out ice creams on a picket line in New York last month

The all-star line-up will take it in turns to moderate the chats for an initial 12 episodes. They will "navigate the Hollywood strikes and beyond" and provide "an inside look at late night television", Spotify said.

The sums going to the writers and other staff members on their regular TV shows have not been disclosed.

Kimmel, who normally hosts ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, thanked sponsors for providing the funds, and said the podcast would continue "for the remainder of the strike".

There is still little sign of an end to the walkout, which has also included actors since July, and has led to major upheaval in the US TV and film industry.

The writers and actors are in a dispute with studios over streaming-era pay arrangements and the use of artificial intelligence.

US actors Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul join the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) picket line in front of Sony Pictures Entertainment Studios in Culver City, California, on August 29, 2023
Breaking Bad stars Aaron Paul (left) and Bryan Cranston were on a picket line in Los Angeles on Tuesday

The cast and crew of Breaking Bad and spin-off Better Call Saul were among those on the latest picket lines in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

"Honestly, it just feels like it's just beginning," actor Aaron Paul told Deadline. "It's important for everyone out there to know we're not going anywhere.

"We're fighting the good fight. We're standing in solidarity with every SAG [Screen Actors Guild] member out there, trying to make ends meet, put food on the table and do what we love."

The star added that studio executives were "not really understanding the reality of the situation", adding: "Once the higher-ups sort of come back to Earth… I really do feel that we're going to find a common ground and march forward in this."

The strike will also affect this autumn's film festivals because actors are prevented from promoting their work for major studios.

US director and president of the jury Damien Chazelle wearing a tee-shirt in solidarity with Writers Guild on strike poses on August 30, 2023, during a photocall for the Jury of the 80th International Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido
La La Land director and president of the Venice jury shows support for the writers' strike as the festival launched

The Toronto International Film Festival, which begins next week, will host fewer big names - but will feature appearances by some stars who have been granted permission to attend because their films were made by independent companies that are not involved in the dispute.

They will include Sean Penn, Dakota Johnson, Finn Wolfhard, Viggo Mortensen, Maya Hawke and Laura Linney, Deadline reported.

Meanwhile, Adam Driver, Mads Mikkelsen and Jessica Chastain are among those who will travel to the Venice Film Festival, which kicked off on Wednesday, because their productions are also not included in the strike.

More controversially, the Italian festival is hosting screenings of films by directors Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and Luc Besson, who have faced sexual assault allegations in the past.

Festival boss Alberto Barbera has defended their inclusion. Speaking about Allen, Barbera told the AFP news agency: "He has been completely absolved. Twenty-five years have passed and, for me, the hostility towards him, especially in the United States, is absolutely incomprehensible."