Raising the question of who blinked first, the New York Times reported today (Monday) that David Letterman is working out a deal with the Writers Guild of America that would allow him to return to the air on CBS in early January with his usual writing staff even if the strike continues. Executives of Worldwide Pants, Letterman's production company, told the newspaper that they were hopeful the deal with the writers could be concluded this week. "That could potentially put Mr. Letterman at an enormous advantage over most of his late-night colleagues" the Times observed. The newspaper noted that Letterman is in a stronger position to hash out a deal with the writers because, unlike many other late-night shows, he owns the production company responsible for it, not the network. However, the Times article did not indicate whether Letterman's company and the WGA had come to an agreement on residuals for new media, the principal issue involved in the current labor dispute. Complicating matters is the fact that while Worldwide Pants produces the program, CBS nevertheless distributes it and presumably would be responsible for paying writers residuals for online use of their material on CBS.com and/or other Internet sites. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported today that NBC is expected to announce that it will return its late-night shows to the air as early as January 2 -- without writers.