For late-night TV talk show host Carson Daly, the phrase "the show must go on" has taken on a whole new significance.

"An ultimatum was put in front of me," Daly told the Los Angeles Times of his decision to return to host NBC's "Last Call With Carson Daly" during a continuing writers' strike. "It was, 'Put a new show on Dec. 3 or 75 people are fired. What's your answer?"'

Daly said he quickly decided he could not live with putting loyal staffers out of work, the newspaper reported Monday. When asked who at NBC delivered the ultimatum, Daly said it was his "immediate bosses" but wouldn't be more specific.

Messages left with an NBC spokeswoman seeking comment Monday were not immediately returned.

Daly told his studio audience a similar story on his first show back, saying he did not want to do the show without his writers, but felt he had to save the jobs of his staff members.

Since Daly's return, other network late-night hosts Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel and Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have all announced plans to return next month. But Daly received the most criticism, partly because he was the first to return to the air during the strike, now in its eighth week.

After NBC announced Daly would be returning, the Writers Guild of America issued a statement saying it was "disappointed" and "appalled" by the decision. A group of protesters — presumably writers on strike — noisily disrupted a "Last Call" taping.