Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Head Back to Work

12/21/2007 at 10:00 AM EST

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Head Back to Work
Stephen Colbert (left) and Jon Stewart
Scott Gries/Getty
Note to politicians: Prepare to be mocked.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will head back to work Jan. 7 – without writers if necessary, Comedy Central announced Thursday.

Their satirical faux newscasts, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, had been in reruns since the Writers' Guild of America strike began two months ago.

"We would like to return to work with our writers," the hosts – who are both members of the WGA – said in a joint statement. "If we cannot, we would like to express our ambivalence, but without our writers we are unable to express something as nuanced as ambivalence."

The hosts follow in the footsteps of Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Kimmel, who previously announced they'll return to the airways Jan. 2. According to Variety, David Letterman's production company hopes to reach an interim deal with the guild, allowing the host to come back next month with his writing team intact.

If the strike drags on, Stewart – who has been paying the salaries of staffers during the dark period – could also face a challenge in February, when he hosts his second Academy Awards show. The WGA said this week that it would refuse to grant special waivers allowing the Oscars or the Golden Globes to hire union writers.

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