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No Deal for Letterman and TV Writers

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December 21, 2007 07:07 PM EST | AP

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NEW YORK — David Letterman doesn't even need writers to have fun with this one. The late-night comic's representatives met with striking writers on Friday in an attempt to reach a deal that will allow the "Late Show" to return to the air with its writing staff.

All the Writers Guild of America would say about the meeting: "A lively exchange of information took place." It was reminiscent of diplomat-speak for argumentative talks between hostile countries: "A frank exchange of views."

Absent a deal, the CBS show's goal of returning to the air with live episodes on Jan. 2 is still up in the air.

Late-night rivals Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Kimmel are all coming back that night without writers if the strike, as expected, is not resolved. Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert plan to bring their late-night shows back without writers on Jan. 7.

Letterman's hope to bring his writers back stemmed from the union's announcement last weekend that it was open to reaching contract agreements with separate production companies. Letterman's Worldwide Pants owns his show and CBS' talk show with Craig Ferguson.

Rob Burnett, president and CEO of Worldwide Pants, didn't say much more.

"We had a substantive discussion today with the WGA and look forward to continuing these talks next week," Burnett said.