Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
|Last Week Tonight with John Oliver|
|Genre||Comedy, news satire|
|Developed by||John Oliver|
|Presented by||John Oliver|
|Opening theme||"Go" by Valley Lodge|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||15 (as of August 17, 2014) (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||John Oliver
|Location(s)||CBS Broadcast Center
New York, New York
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Avalon Television|
|Picture format||1080i (16:9 HDTV)|
|Original run||April 27, 2014– present|
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is an American late-night talk show airing Sundays at 11:00 p.m. on HBO in the United States and Canada, and on Tuesday 10:00 p.m. (GMT) on Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom. The half-hour long show premiered on Sunday, April 27, 2014, and is hosted by comedian John Oliver. Last Week Tonight shares some similarities with Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where Oliver was previously featured as a correspondent and fill-in host, exploring a satirical look at news, politics and current events on a weekly basis.
Oliver's contract with HBO lasts two years with an option for more. Oliver says he has full creative freedom, including free rein to criticize corporations. That freedom may be facilitated in part by HBO's ad-free subscription model. Oliver and HBO programming president Michael Lombardo have discussed extending the show from half an hour to a full hour and airing more than once a week after Oliver "gets his feet under him."
Oliver described his preparations for the show to an interviewer for The Wire: "... I basically have to watch everything. The only thing I kind of watch for pleasure is Fareed Zakaria's show on Sundays... That and 60 Minutes I watch for pleasure, or maybe Frontline... I have a TV on in my office all the time and I'll generally flick around on that from CNN, Fox, MSNBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Al Jazeera... I'm watching with a certain thing in mind and that is how to see a story told badly."
He admitted to another interviewer that he is concerned about dealing with old news: "If something happens on a Monday, realistically all the meat is going to be picked off that bone by the time it gets to us - there's probably barely a point in doing it... I think we'll be attracted to some extent by stories that are off the grid... Our show may end up skewing more international in terms of stories."
Tim Carvell, executive producer of Last Week Tonight, explained to an interviewer how the cast and crew deal with a half hour of Oliver speaking without any commercial breaks. "Structural considerations are leading to changes in the content in the show that will inherently make it different from The Daily Show... We realized early on, you don't necessarily want to hear anybody talk to you for a half an hour straight – even John, who is very charming – so we are constructing these little, produced comedy elements that will serve the function of commercial breaks throughout the show, which will let us get out of the studio, get us away from John's voice and break the show up a bit." Carvell also revealed that HBO gave them freedom in choosing guests for the show, advising them not to feel obligated to feature celebrities.
When asked by an interviewer about "correspondents" such as those featured on The Daily Show, Oliver replied, "we're not going to be a parody news show, so no people pretending to be journalists."
|Title||Guest||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|"Episode 1"||Keith B. Alexander||April 27, 2014||1.11|
|Segments: Indian general election, 2014, POM Wonderful LLC v. Coca-Cola Co.|
|"Episode 2"||Simon Ostrovsky||May 4, 2014||1.19|
|Segments: capital punishment in the United States, Hassanal Bolkiah|
|"Episode 3"||Bill Nye||May 11, 2014||1.01|
|Segments: United States Senate election in Kentucky, 2014, global warming controversy|
|"Episode 4"||Fareed Zakaria||May 18, 2014||1.03|
|Segments: General Motors controversy, right to be forgotten (Google Spain v AEPD and Mario Costeja González)|
|"Episode 5"||no guest||June 1, 2014||0.985|
|Segments: net neutrality in the United States, 87th Scripps National Spelling Bee|
|"Episode 6"||Right Said Fred||June 8, 2014||0.952|
|Segments: FIFA, Bashar al-Assad|
|"Episode 7"||Stephen Hawking||June 15, 2014||0.905|
|Segments: Washington Redskins name controversy, immigration reform in the United States|
|"Episode 8"||Steve Buscemi||June 22, 2014||0.890|
|Segments: monarchies, Dr. Oz's June 2014 Senate hearing and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994|
|"Episode 9"||Pepe Julian Onziema||June 29, 2014||0.847|
|Segments: Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, LGBT rights in Uganda|
|"Episode 10"||no guest||July 13, 2014||0.84|
|Segments: income inequality and wealth inequality in the United States, public image of CIA|
|"Episode 11"||no guest||July 20, 2014||0.922|
|Segments: Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Commonwealth Games, incarceration in the United States|
|"Episode 12"||no guest||July 27, 2014||1.00|
|Segments: nuclear weapons and the United States, Russia's miscommunication with mating geckos lost in space|
|"Episode 13"||no guest||August 3, 2014||0.964|
|Segments: Argentine debt restructuring, native advertising|
|"Episode 14"||Sarah Silverman||August 10, 2014||0.940|
|Segments: payday loans in the United States, Russia's import embargo on U.S. chicken and soybean|
|"Episode 15"||no guest||August 17, 2014||1.03|
|Segments: shooting of Michael Brown and police militarization in Ferguson, MO, equal pay for equal work|
|"Episode 16"||September 7, 2014|
|"Episode 17"||September 14, 2014|
|"Episode 18"||September 21, 2014|
|"Episode 19"||September 28, 2014|
Oliver's debut show garnered 1.11 million viewers. The number of viewers online, through websites such as YouTube showing extended clips of different segments, have steadily climbed into multiple millions.
Hank Stuever of The Washington Post compared Oliver's program with The Daily Show several times in his review of Oliver's debut: "another scathing, stick-it-to-'em critique of American mass media and politics shellacked in satire and delivered by a funny if almost off-puttingly incredulous man with a British accent... Exactly like The Daily Show, the goal is to make elected and appointed officials, as well as just about any corporate enterprise, look foolish and inept while slyly culling together television news clips that make the media look equally inept at covering such evident truths."
James Poniewozik of Time similarly compared Last Week with The Daily Show, but also wrote that the "full half-hour gives Oliver the room to do more," and praised Oliver's "sharper tone and his globalist, English-outsider perspective," as well as his "genuine passion over his subjects." Poniewozik wrote that Oliver's debut was "a funny, confident start."
The Entertainment Weekly review began by ringing the same changes: "The fear with Last Week Tonight is that it's The Daily Show except once a week — a staggered timeline that would rob the basic news-punning format of its intrinsic topical punch... The first episode of his HBO series didn't stray far from the [Jon] Stewart mothership, stylistically..." However, the reviewer, Darren Franich, liked that Oliver has "a half-hour of television that is simultaneously tighter and more ambitious, that the extra production time leads to sharper gags but also the ability to present more context" and thought that the debut had "plenty of funny throwaway lines." Franich appreciated Oliver's coverage of the 2014 upcoming India Election, which the American press was largely ignoring, and, like Poniewozik, praised Oliver's "passion." Franich concluded that Last Week Tonight "suggested the sharpest possible version of its inspiration" and that it "should feel like an experiment" but "felt almost fully formed."
The reviewer for Slate was ambivalent, writing that the show is "obviously a work in progress" and that one segment "felt like misplaced overkill," but also that it is "good use of a weekly show, and it was funny to boot."
Gawker's Jordan Sargent claimed Last Week Tonight was "the new Daily Show", while simultaneously criticizing the Daily Show for abandoning those "who have moved on from caring about Fox [News] and Republicans."
According to a document obtained by Vice, the military government of Thailand listed Oliver as "undermining the royal institution" for calling Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn a "buffoon" and an "idiot".
In Hungary, the show premiered on May 2, 2014 and airs at 8:00 pm (CET) on Fridays on HBO Comedy with subtitles and is also available on HBO GO. It airs in Australia on The Comedy Channel, where it airs hours after the U.S. airing. In the United Kingdom, it is broadcast on Tuesdays on the satellite-only channel Sky Atlantic. In Brazil, is shown days later on Wednesday on HBO Plus. In Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland the show is available on HBO's streaming service HBO Nordic. Episodes are available two days after the U.S. broadcast.
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- Ayres, Alyssa (May 1, 2014). "Thanks, John Oliver! Why India Isn't a Big Focus for U.S. Television". Forbes. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
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- Haglund, David (April 2014). "Last Week Tonight: Like The Daily Show, With Unbleeped Swears!". Slate. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
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- "Thailand’s Military Government Thinks John Oliver Is a Threat to Its Monarchy". Vice. July 25, 2014.
- "Thai junta unamused by comedian John Oliver's royal jibes". The Guardian. 30 July 2014.
- winnie (April 13, 2014). "Hírvasárnap - 19-2 2. évad!!" (in Hungarian). Sorozatjunkie. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
- "Airdate: Last Week Tonight". TV Tonight. April 11, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- "Last Week Tonight on HBO Nordic".
- Official website
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver at the Internet Movie Database
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver at TV.com
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on Facebook
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver's channel on YouTube
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on Twitter