Jay Leno and CONAN O BRIEN will restart their U.S. TV chat shows on 2 January (08), regardless of whether the ongoing Hollywood writers' strike has finished or not. Both Leno and O'Brien have been providing their laid-off staff with financial compensation since the strike began in early November (07). But the presenters have now announced their decision to start airing The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and Late Night With Conan O'Brien again, so as to avoid having to make non-writing staff redundant. In a statement, Leno says, "I was, like most people, hoping for a quick resolution when this began... I feel it's my responsibility to get my 100 non-writing staff, which was laid off, back to work." In his own statement, O'Brien adds, "Unfortunately, now with the new year upon us, I am left with a difficult decision - either go back to work and keep my staff employed, or stay dark, and allow 80 people, many of whom have worked for me for 14 years, to lose their jobs. "An unwritten version of Late Night, though not desirable, is possible - and no one has to be fired."