The Late Late Show (CBS TV series)
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|The Late Late Show|
|Created by||David Letterman|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||3,849 (as of February 26, 2014)|
|Location(s)||CBS Television City
Los Angeles, California
|Running time||62 minutes|
|Picture format||480i (4:3 SDTV) (2005-2009)
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (2009-present)
|Original run||January 9, 1995 – present|
|Preceded by||Crimetime After Primetime|
|Related shows||Late Show|
The Late Late Show is an American late-night television talk and variety show on CBS. It first aired in January 1995, with host Tom Snyder. Since January 2005 it has been hosted by Craig Ferguson. It is produced by Worldwide Pants Incorporated, the production company owned by the host of the show that immediately precedes it: Late Show with David Letterman and CBS Television Studios. It originates from CBS Television City and is shot in High Definition, as of August 31, 2009.
The show differs from most of the other extant late-night talk shows in that it has never used a house band nor an in-studio announcer.
Occasionally, the show is split into 15- and 45-minute segments when CBS airs a daily late night highlight show for either The Masters, other PGA Tour events with rights owned by CBS, or tennis' U.S. Open. The show then has a monologue to start, followed by sports highlights, and then the guest segments. Since mid-2007, however, the highlights show has aired first, followed by the full hour of The Late Late Show.
|Tom Snyder||January 9, 1995||58||March 26, 1999||62||777|
|Craig Kilborn||March 29, 1999||36||August 27, 2004||42||1190|
|Craig Ferguson||January 3, 2005||42||December 19, 2014||52||1800+|
Tom Snyder (1995–1999)
Tom Snyder hosted the program from its inception in January 1995 until March 1999. The choice of Snyder as host was apparently made by David Letterman, whose contract with CBS gave him the power to produce the show in the timeslot immediately after his own program; previously the slot had been taken up by repeats of Crimetime After Primetime.
Letterman and Snyder had a long history together: a 1978 Tomorrow episode hosted by Snyder was almost exclusively devoted to a long interview with up-and-coming new comedy talents Letterman, Billy Crystal and Merrill Markoe. And in 1982, when Tomorrow was canceled by NBC, Letterman took over Snyder's time slot with his own NBC show Late Night with David Letterman.
Snyder's show featured a mix of celebrities, politicians and other newsmakers, but was otherwise quite unlike the program hosted by Letterman. Snyder was a former newsman, not a comedian, and his show featured an intimate interview format with no studio audience present, similar to his old Tomorrow show of the 1970s, or to Charlie Rose show and Later, which had abandoned the format the previous year. Though the show lacked a studio audience, Snyder still frequently gave extended conversational monologues, many of which contained jokes that prompted audible laughter from the off-camera production staff. Throughout most of the show's run, it was also simulcast over some CBS Radio stations, and Snyder accepted calls from viewers/listeners somewhat in the manner of Larry King.
Saxophonist David Sanborn composed and performed the theme music and several other songs featured on the show, all of which were smooth jazz pieces to fit the show's low-key, middle-of-the-night mood. Sanborn had previously been a guest saxophonist in The World's Most Dangerous Band during Late Night with David Letterman. Unlike other late-night shows, The Late Late Show did not have a house band (a tradition that carried on to its successors) or any announcer, except for the last episode, when Snyder allowed one of his staff members to announce an introduction.
Snyder was originally scheduled to broadcast his last Late Late Show on March 19, 1999. However, his replacement Craig Kilborn was still working out the kinks in the new show's format, so the 62-year-old Snyder agreed to "help out the new guy" by filling in for another week.
Craig Kilborn (1999–2004)
When Snyder announced he was leaving, the show was reformatted to resemble Letterman and other major late-night talk programs. Craig Kilborn took over in March 1999, having left The Daily Show to become the new Late Late Show host.
When Kilborn was on the show, it began with an image of a full moon wavering behind gray stratus clouds, to the tuning of an orchestra, while the announcer—the recorded, modulated voice of Kilborn himself—blurted out, "From the gorgeous, gorgeous Hollywood Hills in sunny California, it's your Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. Tonight [...]", and then the guests were announced, backed by the show's theme song, composed by Neil Finn. Then Kilborn was presented, "Ladies and gentlemen, *pause* Mister Craig Kilborn", with the 1970s disco band Wild Cherry song "Play That Funky Music".
After Kilborn's stand-up monologue, he walked to his "Bavarian oak desk" while Finn's theme song continued playing with the chorus "The Late Late Show is starting. The Late Late Show is starting now." The "Desk Chat" was said to be Craig's favorite part of the show.
During later seasons,[specify] the opening consisted of shots of various Los Angeles hotspots accompanied by a new theme song performed and written by Chris Isaak. For this new theme song, Kilborn would be played to the desk with a chorus of "The Late Late Show is starting".
Segments included:
- In the News: A news segment, whose theme song was Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger", where Kilborn would provide a humorous overview of the day's events. It was briefly called "The World of Whimsy" following the September 11th attacks. The segment also included characters such as the hoary and cherubic "Ewok Guy" or the rapping "PG&E" Lady.
- What Up?: A Friday segment where Kilborn and three other panelists discussed and joked about the news.
- To Blank with Love: Kilborn dedicated verses to different people and things
- Five Questions: Kilborn asked a geography question, a Match Game-style "blank" question where the guest had to fill a blank with a word related to the guest, a "Now think of other one" question in which the guest had to guess what Kilborn had in mind. This segment was a holdover from Kilborn's previous job as the host of The Daily Show.
- Tuesdays with Buddy: Featuring Buddy Hackett
- Yambo: An elimination game between two guests. Kilborn would slowly walk in a circle around the two celebrity guess and randomly yell questions at them. A correct answer within three seconds earned them a point; three points won a game. Failure to answer or a wrong answer earned a strike; three strikes resulted in the opponent winning.
- The Weather with Petra Nemcova: Craig and Goldy would sometimes do a weather report with model Petra Němcová. The theme song was: "Petra, Petra tell us the weather, Tell us the weather to make us feel better. Petra, Petra, tell us whether we need to bring a jacket, or not."
Kilborn left the program on August 27, 2004, following negotiations which ended when he opted not to renew his contract. On a June 2010 interview, promoting his new show The Kilborn File, Kilborn stated that he left late night television due to him thinking that the late night timeslot was "crowded" and that he wanted to be part of "the first comedy show at dinner time".
Subsequent new shows featured guest hosts, culminating in week-long showcases for four finalists: Craig Ferguson, D. L. Hughley, Damien Fahey, and Michael Ian Black. It was announced on December 7, 2004 that Ferguson, a Scottish comedian best known from his role as Mr. Wick on The Drew Carey Show, was to become Kilborn's permanent replacement. David Letterman later said he made the selection based on the recommendation of Peter Lassally.
Craig Ferguson (2005–2014)
Under Craig Ferguson's tenure as host, the show starts with a cold open, followed by opening credits and a commercial break. A loose comic monologue then follows, consistently including a greeting ("Welcome to Los Angeles, California, welcome to the Late Late Show, I am your host, TV's Craig Ferguson") and the proclamation that "It's a great day for America, everybody!".
Since 2010 the monologue also includes banter with Geoff Peterson, his "robot skeleton sidekick", voiced and controlled by Josh Robert Thompson. This animatronic was constructed by the Mythbusters' Grant Imahara but went through many revisions, the most important was the regular live control and voicing by Thompson. This has changed the dynamic of the show as Ferguson has a recurring 'sidekick' to banter with.
Many routines such as 'big cash prize', 'choose your vegetable' are rotated throughout a time period. Ferguson is not against reviving a routine if the topic comes up. Usually involving one of the many props he keeps on and under the desk just in case.
After another commercial break, the banter continues with Ferguson sitting behind a desk. He usually reads and responds to viewer e-mail and (since February 2010) Twitter messages for random responses to viewer questions.
During segments Ferguson occasionally will receive phone calls (voiced by Thompson) from a variety of characters, including celebrities, the 'very shy' band allegedly hiding behind the set's curtain, room service, a duplicate Geoff, and Miriam, a possible stalker who confuses Ferguson with former host Craig Kilborn. All the characters' dialogue are improvised during taping.
Ferguson calls his Twitter followers his "robot skeleton army."
Generally one or two celebrities are interviewed; Ferguson starts each by dramatically ripping up note cards written for the interview, "signalling to the audience, and to the guest, that this conversation need not be rigidly managed." At the end of an interview, Ferguson usually asks his guest to engage in one of various rituals; options in the past have included "Awkward Pause", "Mouth Organ", "Guess What the Queen is Thinking", the "Big Cash Prize," or simply joining Ferguson in throwing Frisbees at the show's "horse," Secretariat (actually two interns dressed in a pantomime horse costume). Occasionally Craig will request Thompson (as Geoff) to interpret the thoughts of Secretariat or others, in one of a variety of celebrity voices, most notably Morgan Freeman.
Ferguson incorporates various running gags. Early examples include themed weeks such as "Crab Week", "Magic Week" and "Shark Week". Shark Week was apparently a reference to Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, and that channel, saying that Ferguson has always loved Shark Week, scheduled him for an appearance on August 4, 2010. a "photo of Paul McCartney" joke (wherein Ferguson will call for a photo of McCartney, which is actually a photo of actress Angela Lansbury and vice versa); the show often uses variations of this gag featuring other pairs of look-alike celebrities, such as Cher being shown as Marilyn Manson.
The show ends with "What Did We Learn on the Show Tonight, Craig?", a segment that starts with an animation of a kitten and in which Ferguson "removes his tie, puts his feet on his desk, and summarizes the preceding hour of TV." Since the introduction of the Geoff character, Ferguson usually discusses the day's lesson with the robot.
Ferguson's tenure included the show's first high definition broadcast, on August 31, 2009. In March 2010, the Late Late Show won the Peabody Award for Excellence in Television for its "Evening with Archbishop Desmond Tutu" episode. According to the Peabody Board, "the Scottish-born Ferguson has made late-night television safe again for ideas."
In April 2012, CBS announced that they had reached an agreement with Ferguson to extend his contract through 2014. As part of the deal, the network began co-producing the show for the first time in Late, Late Show history.
Ferguson's final season
Ferguson's contract was set to expire in June 2014. His contract called for him to be first in line to replace David Letterman as host of the Late Show; since CBS chose Stephen Colbert for that position, Ferguson is set to receive a windfall of as much as US$10,000,000. Letterman's contract included the right to control the time slot that follows his and produce the Late Late Show and it was his production company, Worldwide Pants, which selected Ferguson as host and with whom his contracts were negotiated. With Letterman's departure, CBS becomes the sole producer of the show and it is the network which determines what is done with the time slot and with which any contract is negotiated. Ferguson has struggled in the ratings against Late Night with Seth Meyers and CBS has been ambiguous in regard to Ferguson's future as host of The Late Late Show. CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves said in an interview “12:30 is up in the air... Obviously, we’re considering all sorts of candidates and women are among them. A woman would be great in late night.” CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler has said that the CBS management are "big fans of Craig" and that "Craig is here and doing his show at 12.30am, and we love having him there." Chelsea Handler was reportedly in negotiations to take over hosting of The Late Late Show when Ferguson's contract expires, however both Handler and CBS later denied this saying she was in fact in negotiations with CBS' syndication arm for a daytime show; Handler instead signed with Netflix. John Oliver was also reportedly approached by CBS as a possible Late Late Show host prior to his signing a contract with HBO, as was Neil Patrick Harris. Joel McHale was rumored after the announcement that Community was cancelled, but both CBS and McHale denied discussing it (as it was, Community was saved from cancellation shortly thereafter). Tassler has suggested that CBS is seeking a politician for the position (which would require a significant change in format); Ferguson has also alluded to the possibility that CBS is seeking a woman or ethnic minority for the spot.
On April 28, 2014, Craig Ferguson announced he will be leaving The Late Late Show at the end of the year. He had reportedly made the decision prior to Letterman's announcement but agreed to delay making his own decision public until the reaction to Letterman's decision had died down. He had also originally intended to leave in the summer of 2014 but agreed to stay until the end of the year to give CBS more time to find a successor. Following the announcement, CBS Entertainment Chairwoman Nina Tassler said that in his decade as host Ferguson "infused the broadcast with tremendous energy, unique comedy, insightful interviews and some of the most heartfelt monologues seen on television." CBS intends to continue the franchise with a new host. On the episode aired July 14, 2014, Ferguson mentioned that his last show will be December 19, 2014.
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- e.g. "Do we have a picture of Cher?" from cbs.com[dead link]
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- The Late Late Show
- The Late Late Show at TV.com
- On Being a Candidate to Take Over a Late-Night Network Talk Show, a McSweeney's article by Michael Ian Black
- The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder at the Internet Movie Database
- The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn at the Internet Movie Database
- The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at the Internet Movie Database