Saturday, January 31, 2009

Craig Ferguson drops in on "The Soup"

A couple of weeks after Joel McHale appeared as a guest on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," Craig returned the favor by visiting "The Soup" last night. He appears about a minute and 10 seconds into this clip:

New deal for Letterman?

According to Broadcasting & Cable, CBS and David Letterman are starting negotiations that would keep him on the air after his current contract expires in August of this year:

The two sides are striking up talks as the 11:30 timeslot is about to undergo a sea change with Conan O'Brien taking over The Tonight Show and Jay Leno deciding not to jump to ABC and compete for those viewers.

Both CBS and Letterman could see that as an opportunity for Letterman to pick up some new eyeballs and potentially take over as the top host in late night with Leno out of the picture, as he moves on to start his 10 pm show on NBC.
The story quotes an interview Dave did with Rolling Stone, in which he said, "The way I feel now, I would like to go beyond 2010, not much beyond, but you know, enough to go beyond. You always like to be able to excuse yourself on your own terms. If the network is happy with that, great. If they wanna make a change in 2010, you know, I'm fine with that, too."

Friday, January 30, 2009

Next week on Martha Stewart

We stopped including Martha Stewart's show on our lineups page because she doesn't feature celebrity guests every day, but we still keep an eye on her listings, just in case she snags an interesting guest -- we particularly enjoyed seeing Stephen Colbert craft a mistletoe ball and "The Soup"'s Joel McHale trying his hand at ginger shortbread cookies.

So we thought it was worth pointing out that on Tuesday, Martha will bring on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. We can't wait to see what she gets to make.

Wednesday's "Martha Stewart Show" will feature Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai.

Saying goodbye to Conan

Yes, it's only temporary -- he'll be back on the air in an earlier timeslot in June -- but Conan O'Brien has lined up a stellar group of guests for his last couple weeks of "Late Night" shows. Here are some highlights:

Feb. 10: Norm Macdonald, responsible for one of the all-time classic talk show moments when he appeared on Conan with actress Courtney Thorne-Smith.
Feb. 11: His successor in the 12:30 time slot, Jimmy Fallon
Feb. 12: Alec Baldwin, They Might Be Giants
Feb. 13: The Jonas Brothers
Feb. 16: Bob Saget
Feb. 18: Nathan Lane
Feb. 19: Jerry Seinfeld

And on the final, Feb. 20 show... well, that hasn't been revealed yet, so we'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Behind the scenes with Paul Morrissey

Friend of the blog Paul Morrissey appeared on "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" on Monday night (you can watch his segment above), and he was kind enough to send us this follow-up -- enjoy!

Hi Everyone!

Thanks for all the nice emails about my appearance on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson" on Monday. It was an honor and a pleasure being on the show again. I'm really grateful to Craig and all of the staff there at the show for making it so much fun and giving me the opportunity to perform my comedy for their millions of viewers.

I always get a great response after I perform on the show and lots of questions too.

I know there are a lot of "Late Late Show" fans reading this website so I thought I would post of few of the questions and my answers for fans of the show.

Question #1: Is there anything we don't know about Craig Ferguson that we should? Give us some inside info.!
Answer: Well, I might get in trouble for telling you this, but he actually doesn't have a scottish accent. It's fake. He grew up near Pittsburgh, and off-camera he says "yins" a lot.

Question #2: What did it say on your shirt on the show Monday?
Answer: It said "Morrissey", which you may know as a singer depending on if you were depressed as a teen in the 80's. If you don't know who he is, then it's just my last name.

Question #3: I loved your comedy and thought the common law marriage joke is hilarious, but I live in Massachusetts, we have gay marriage and common law marriage laws. I've been living with my brother for 8 years, are we legally married? We are both worried.
Answer: You might be surprised to know that I am not a lawyer. I don't think you can legally marry your brother, but you both should start looking for girlfriends.

Question #4: Paul, my favorite joke was the Turkey Shower curtain. I want one. Where can I get it?
Answer: Well, I'm not sure if we can find a Turkey big enough to make one, but you'll be the first to know if I find one. I also don't know how long it will last once it's in your shower. I wouldn't put a Turkey shower curtain up unless you are really hungry or are showering with friends who love turkey, which sounds like a lot of fun come to think of it.

Question #5: Paul, I loved the Turkey joke. But my wife didn't undertand that Pepperoni Slip-n-slide is slang for sex, right? You know like "I gave her the old Pepperoni Slip-N-Slide"!
Answer: No, you pervert. You've turned my great idea into something really kinky. Congratulations!

Question #6: Paul, you are hilarious and I loved the Morrissey T-Shirt. He's my favorite singer. I love you both, so can you tell Craig to have him and you on, to have an all-Morrissey Late Late Show episode?
Answer: Thanks for the kind words. Great idea, I think that would be really cool. I'll pass that along.

Question #7: Paul, you are my favorite comedian and you were great on Monday! The Spencers joke was my favorite. When will you be on "Late Late Show" again?
Answer: Well, it depends. Performing on a great TV show like this was one of dreams when I started doing standup comedy. And I feel really blessed and extremely lucky to achieve that goal. I'm really thankful that the staff at the show and Craig really like my comedy and keep having me back. I work really hard to come up with brand new jokes every time I'm on the show. It's a lot of hard work but I love doing it. So I hope to be back on the show again as soon as I have my new jokes ready. You can always check my schedule on my website

So thanks again for the questions. Hope my answers helped. Also, I'd really like to thank Craig and the producers at show for supporting standup comedians like me. There's a really great comedian on the show this Friday night named Russell Peters. Craig's interview with him is really funny so be sure to tune in!

Take care,
Paul Morrissey

(Talk Show News was also amused and delighted by Craig Ferguson's mad yodeling skills -- if you missed it, check it out below!)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jay Leno: He's #1

Maybe NBC wasn't so crazy after all when they promised the 10 PM weeknight time slot to Jay Leno. Who would dare fire the most popular man on television?

That's according to a Harris Poll of American adults' favorite TV personalities, which says Leno moved up from #3 on last year's list. Talk show hosts are well represented in the top 10:

1. Jay Leno
2. Hugh Laurie
3. Ellen DeGeneres (last year's #1)
4. Oprah Winfrey
5. David Letterman
6. Jon Stewart
7. Charlie Sheen
8. Steve Carell
9. Stephen Colbert
10. Mark Harmon

"Papa Bear" (Fox News' Bill O'Reilly) dropped out of the top 10 (he was #8 last year). And for those who suspected that NBC wanted to attract a younger audience by putting Conan O'Brien on at 11:30, here's some ammunition: Jay Leno is tops among both Baby Boomers (those aged 44-62) and Matures (those aged 63 and older), while ages 18-43 voted for Laurie and DeGeneres.

Jimmy Carter, talk show superstar

84-year-old former president Jimmy Carter has turned into quite the reliably entertaining talk show guest. On "The Daily Show," the ex-prez told an amusing and self-deprecating anecdote about his status as the least important living president, and seemed delighted to receive a couple of new bicycles from the show (to replace the bikes that were stolen from the Carter Center earlier this year). And now "The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos" is previewing its interview with Carter by sending out a funny clip about the time gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson intentionally started a fire outside of Carter's hotel room in an effort to meet with the former president. "The Hour"'s Carter chat will air tomorrow night at 11 PM.

In addition, Thursday's "The Hour" will feature an interview with spiritual leader Eckhart Tolle. Oprah fans will recall that she was gaga about Tolle's A New Earth, choosing it as a Book Club selection.

Not in Canada? Catch up after the show on "The Hour"'s video page.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What was that phone number?

Stephen Colbert has had fun with toll free phone numbers before -- his "Atone Phone," 1-888-OOPS-JEW, has made numerous appearances on the Report. Last night, at the end of the broadcast, Stephen said, "Remember: If anyone out there was offended by anything they saw or heard on tonight's program, simply call 1-877-SEAN-930 and just let me have it. I mean, stuff you could never take back."

SEAN, huh? Could that number somehow be associated with Stephen's ex-co-host Alan Colmes' former partner, Sean Hannity? Let's ask Wikipedia:

...a feature of Hannity's new show is the 'Hate Hannity Hotline', a segment in which the host airs and reacts to the recorded telephone messages of viewers who dislike him or disagree with him. An animated electronic 'HATE-METER' is used as a studio prop during the sequence. The phone number for the 'Hate Hannity Hotline' is 877-SEAN-930.
A blogger at Colbert fan site No Fact Zone says eager callers have already "crashed the system."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Guests of the Week: Jan. 26-30, 2009

Here are our picks for the guests who will be worth watching during the coming week. Feel free to weigh in if you have a guest to recommend.

Friend of the blog/stand-up comic Paul Morrissey will be on Monday's "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson." (If you want to see the singer Morrissey, you'll have to wait 'til Feb. 5, when the ex-Smiths singer will appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live.") Jon Stewart sits down with his old nemesis Conan O'Brien on Thursday's "Late Night," while on "The Daily Show," he welcomes Former President Jimmy Carter on Monday and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, always one of his best-ever guests, on Wednesday. "Man On Wire" Philippe Petit will visit Stephen Colbert on Tuesday. "The View" snags a couple big names: Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Monday and Dr. Condoleezza Rice on Thursday. Meet the new Miss America on Monday's "Live with Regis and Kelly" and Tuesday's "Morning Show with Mike and Juliet." Oscar-nominated director Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") talks to Tavis Smiley on Friday.

Don't Bother: Brody Jenner on "Jimmy Kimmel" and "Mike and Juliet"? Whitney Port on "The View"? Please, if we just ignore them, maybe they'll go away.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Veatrice R.I.P.

Several years ago, "Late Show with David Letterman" ran a "tribute" to Larry "Bud" Melman (Calvert DeForest) in which a montage of clips of his performances were shown, accompanied by mournful music. At the end, Dave said he was going to share some of his favorite memories of DeForest, when all of a sudden, the actor burst out from behind a curtain and shouted, "I'm not dead, you bastard!" No wonder a lot of people suspected it might be another hoax when DeForest actually did pass away in 2007.

If Jimmy Kimmel hadn't been so obviously choked up on last night's show, viewers might well wonder if the announcement of security guard/frequent ensemble player Veatrice Rice's passing was just a wacky gag. But sadly, it appears that Rice really did die of cancer yesterday.

Fans of the show will miss her hilariously deadpan, foul-mouthed style, displayed in segments like Veatrice and the Land o'Lakes Butter Lady At the Movies and her "political" analysis with fellow security guards Guillermo and Uncle Frank, which usually ended with her shouting that both of them were morons. Even though she became a frequent on-air presence, however, she still helped usher people to their seats before the show. Below is the tribute to Veatrice aired on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" last night.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Paul Morrissey makes his fourth appearance on "The Late Late Show"

Way back in 2006, comedian Paul Morrissey made his network television debut on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson." Paul emailed the lineups page to ask if we'd add a link to his web site. We're always excited to hear from an actual talk show guest, so when we heard Paul was going to make his fourth appearance on "Late Late Show," we asked him to write something for our readers. Maybe if we're lucky, we'll get some inside scoop after the show. Be sure to tune in and watch him on Monday!

Hey Everybody,

I'm thrilled to announce I'll be making my 4th appearance on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson" on CBS, this Monday, January 26th. The show airs 12:30am after The Late Show with David Letterman.

I've been on the show more than any other comedian, so it's a real honor and a thrill to be asked back again to tell some more jokes. I'll be on the show with the always sexy, Chris Matthews from MSNBC's "Hardball."

So set your TiVo's, DVR's or just get drunk and stay up late. I'll be on at the end, so add a couple minutes to your record time.

I can't really keep track of my schedule lately but here's what I got so far. If you are in any of the cities, I'd love to see you at a show.

And as always thanks for all of the support!

Jan 22 The Laugh Factory- Hollywood 8pm
Jan 22 The Icehouse-Pasadena 10pm
Jan 23-24 Comedy & Magic Club-Hermosa Beach
Jan 26 The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson CBS TV Taping-Hollywood,CA
Jan 27 The Improv- Irvine, CA
Jan 30 Herkimer College- Herkimer, NY
Feb. 4 Gold Country Casino- Oroville,CA
Feb. 5-8 Laughs Unlimited- Sacramento, CA
Feb23-Mar 1 Riviera Comedy Club- Las Vegas,NV

Take care,
Paul Morrissey

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Conan goes "Inside the Actors Studio"

Bravo's "Inside The Actors Studio" will feature a two-hour interview with Conan O'Brien on Monday, Jan. 26, at 8 PM Eastern time/10 PM Pacific. An NBC press release describes it as "his first in-depth on-screen interview before his much anticipated transition from a 16-year hosting gig on 'Late Night' to the coveted 'Tonight Show' seat."

Tune in earlier on Monday (10 AM Eastern) for a repeat of James Lipton's chat with Jay Leno.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Longtime producer on Leno's move to 10 PM: "It is very depressing"

Famed producer Peter Lassally, who worked with Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show" before moving on to "Late Show with David Letterman" and then "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," told Broadcasting & Cable that NBC's decision to put Jay Leno on at 10 PM every weeknight "doesn't feel good to me at all."

“If I were Conan O'Brien, I would be very upset,” he told B&C.

Despite his personal disappointment, Lassally does understand why NBC is launching The Jay Leno Show weeknights at 10, thus keeping late night's top dog from jumping to a rival network.

"NBC was desperate to keep Jay Leno,” Lassally says. “But the mistake they made was five years ago when they decided he wasn't the man for the job. Now they just had to find a way to keep him. It's a very adventurous decision. It can change things for NBC in either direction.”

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Guests of the Week: Jan. 19-23, 2009

Here are our picks for the guests who will be worth watching during the coming week. Feel free to weigh in if you have a guest to recommend.

Letterman's taking the week off, but Leno has a couple worthwhile guests on Monday: Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist who's always a great guest on "The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report," and Jimmy Fallon, with whom Leno will no doubt discuss the upcoming "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." Craig Ferguson may or may not have the always charming Joel McHale on Tuesday -- the CBS press release says yes, the "Late Late Show" web site doesn't have him listed, but we'll set the TiVo and find out. "The Daily Show" promises live inauguration coverage and (via satellite) Bishop Gene Robinson; expect Rick Warren to come up in conversation. Stephen Colbert welcomes inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander. Monday's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" is a rerun, but a particularly good one, with Kathy Griffin, Sally Hawkins and Mike Birbiglia. Birbiglia did a very funny routine and mentioned that he has a Google alert set, so Mike, if you see this blog entry, post a comment! "Juno"/"The United States of Tara" scribe Diablo Cody sits down with Jimmy on Wednesday, and on Friday, Joan Rivers will discuss her new book about plastic surgery (is she presenting herself as a cautionary tale?). And no one has a bigger "get" this week than Tavis Smiley, whose PBS show will feature an interview with President-elect Barack Obama.

Don't Bother: No one particularly egregious this week, but we're a little freaked out that Perez Hilton will be appearing on two talk shows (Ferguson and a "Chelsea Lately" repeat). Likewise, no one's really ubiquitous enough this week to win the Pluggernaut Award for promotional ubiquity, but Renee Zellweger, plugging her dreadful-looking new movie "New In Town," looks like a strong contender for next week's title.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Earlier time slot for Jimmy Kimmel?

Could Jay Leno's move to prime time have caused ABC to rethink where they might be able to deploy Jimmy Kimmel? Talk Show News has long considered Kimmel to be the most underrated of the late night hosts. OK, TSN will admit that our Kimmel fandom goes way back to his co-hosting stint on the Comedy Central game show "Win Ben Stein's Money." We mentioned the show as a favorite on our web page (this was before everyone had blogs or Facebook accounts -- we had personal web pages) and somehow Kimmel managed to find it and send us a nice e-mail. You know, it was probably even before Google. We're really going back in time here, people!

Anyway, Media Daily News was at the Television Critics Association meeting, which wraps up today, and had this report from ABC's press conference:

NBC's Jay Leno prime-time move might force at least one other network to consider moving its late-night host. Steve McPherson, president of ABC Entertainment, speaking at the Television Critics Association tour, said NBC moving Jay Leno to 10 p.m. "changed the landscape."

ABC's own midnight hour talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live" might gain from this, he says. "We'll look at Jimmy for different time periods," he said. McPherson said that Kimmel's ratings have been rising recently, though he didn't go into details.
We really liked Jimmy's prime time Emmy special, "Jimmy Kimmel's Big Night of Stars," which was sort of a parody of the Barbara Walters Oscar night specials, but somehow they managed to cajole Walters herself into providing an introduction. Unfortunately, the Emmys aren't always on ABC (perhaps a good thing, since the Emmycast itself was a piece of crap) so he won't be able to reprise it every year.

If Talk Show News had been at the press conference, we would have asked when "JKL" will be broadcast in high definition, already.

Canadian author's shameless promotion

Suspense writer Cheryl Kaye Tardif loves, loves, loves Craig Ferguson. In fact, she's launched a campaign to appear on his show.

Now, admittedly it's a long shot, and I don't plan to make a habit of publicizing everyone who wants to pull a similar stunt, but Cheryl found this blog, and since my blog is fairly new, I figured I'd give her some free publicity.

So here's Cheryl's post about why she wants to appear on "The Late Late Show," and here's her web site. Good luck, Cheryl!

Incidentally, Craig is pretty much alone among the late night talk show hosts to have fiction writers as guests. Some of the authors he's hosted have included Michael Connelly, Salman Rushdie, Ken Bruen and Isabel Allende.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon talk to TV critics

Conan O'Brien, who is getting ready to move to the 11:35 time slot on June 1, and Jimmy Fallon, whose countdown widget now reads 46 days, 11 hours, 57 minutes and 24 seconds, met the press today at the Television Critics Association tour. The New York Times' Bill Carter reports that Conan isn't upset about Jay Leno's move into the 10 PM time slot:

He said he was aware of the issues that surrounded the decision to give Mr. Leno what may be a “Tonight”-like show every weeknight at 10 p.m., such things as what it might mean for booking top guests. But he noted that guests hardly affect the ratings of late-night shows anymore and he expected to continue to book the people “that I have good chemistry with — I think that’s more important.”

If anything, Mr. O’Brien said, having Mr. Leno on earlier and doing his usual complement of topical jokes “might turn out to be liberating.” He said it may free him to move into more creative comedy areas.

“I think a lot of this is going to be up to me,” Mr. O’Brien said. “If I do a good, funny, fresh ‘Tonight’ show, it won’t matter what anybody else is doing.”
Reporting on Fallon's session, the Associated Press' Lynn Elber said Jimmy Fallon appreciated Craig Ferguson's comments from yesterday's panel.
"I'm up against a really classy guy. I actually sent him a gift basket today with a collection of Sean Connery movies," Fallon said. Both Connery and Ferguson are Scottish.

Fallon said he figures his real competition is the fact that people want to go to sleep after midnight, not watch TV, and his job is to keep them interested and awake.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that Conan will be appearing in a Super Bowl commercial for Bud Light.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Another Ferguson tidbit

Denver Post's Joanne Ostrow also attended Craig Ferguson's TCA session:

Ferguson said here today that his autobiography, American on Purpose, is due out this fall. It will be pain filled yet light-hearted. Achingly funny. Heart-breakingly hilarious. “The publisher wants more Angela's Ashes,” he said.

That shouldn’t be a problem since, “My psychiatrist says I have reserves of unhappiness equal to Saudi Arabia’s reserves of oil,” he said.
Tomorrow, Jimmy Fallon will meet the press to talk about his new late night show.

Craig Ferguson talks about the competition

Craig Ferguson had a press conference this morning at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, who has essentially been liveblogging the sessions, is first on the scene with a report:

Promoting his show -- in an attempt to blunt the impact of NBC's upcoming debut of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" -- Ferguson said he thinks he an Fallon will draw different audiences.

"Jimmy's competition is [Cartoon Network's] Adult Swim, I think," Ferguson said. "I don't think it's me. I will challenge you all to give Jimmy a month before you review him. That would be fair, I think."
We'll keep tabs on the other critics covering the tour, to see if any other news tidbits leak out.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The sincerest form of flattery

From a report in about the forthcoming "Osbournes: Reloaded" variety show on FOX:

The Osbournes game show that they play on-stage is called “Guess the Guest” with “Family Feud” host, John O’ Hurley playing as host. This requires the family to be blindfolded, then must guess who the celebrity guest is by asking him or her questions. The celebrity guests’ voice is electronically distorted.
Anyone who's seen the popular segment "Celebrity in a Box" on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" might think that bit sounds familiar...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Guests of the Week: Jan. 12-16, 2009

Here are our picks for the guests who will be worth watching during the coming week. Feel free to weigh in if you have a guest to recommend.

Jay Leno welcomes the cleverly-named Band From TV on Friday. The "supergroup" features Talk Show News fave/"House" star Hugh Laurie tickling the ivories, as well as "Heroes'" Greg Grunberg, ex-"Bachelor" Bob Guiney, "Desperate Housewives'" James Denton, "Cashmere Mafia"'s Bonnie Somerville. We just hope that they have more talent than the Rock Bottom Remainders. Craig Ferguson has a couple of always-entertaining talk show guests: John Waters (Wednesday) and Wanda Sykes (Thursday). Stephen Colbert will talk to Obama poster artist Shepard Fairey on Thursday. Also on Thursday, Jimmy Kimmel brings back jet pack pilot Eric Scott; the first time he appeared, his equipment failed and he remained earthbound. Will he succeed this time? Recently axed talker "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet" is doing a week of Where Are They Nows, including (on Wednesday) "Small Wonder"'s Tiffany Brissette, who played Vicki the Robot.

Don't Bother: Just the thought of watching Ann Coulter sit down with the ladies of "The View" (Monday) gives us the hives.

This week's Pluggernaut Award for promotional ubiquity goes to the stars of "American Idol," who are revving up for the new season. New judge Kara DioGuardi will appear on "Late Show" on Monday and "Regis and Kelly" on the 19th; Randy Jackson dances with Ellen on Tuesday and stops by "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on the 20th; and reigning champ David Cook will appear with Kimmel on Tuesday.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Say goodnight to "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet"

Mediaweek is reporting that "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet" will end production in June.

“We are very proud of The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet,” said Bob Cook, president and chief operating officer of Twentieth Television. “Over the past two years, we set out to produce a high-quality show that provided viewers with an engaging source of entertainment. We believe we accomplished this goal. Unfortunately, the current serious economic conditions made it challenging to continue producing the type of unique program that we wanted to deliver.”
Perhaps the show's greatest legacy is one of 2008's best internet memes, "Spaghetti Cat."

Stewart and Colbert: high def in 2010?

Last year, we reported that Comedy Central is launching a high def channel, and wondered when Stephen Colbert & Jon Stewart will be making the leap to HD. Well, a source at the network now tells us that "they are planning for it in January 2010."

Jon Stewart endorses "Important Things"

Demetri Martin, who was briefly the "youth correspondent" on "The Daily Show," is returning to Comedy Central with his own sketch show, "Important Things." It debuts Feb. 11.

Pittsburgh reporter Rob Owen attended Martin's presentation at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, and files this report.

Jon Stewart... was not present but recorded an introduction for TV critics.

"You have a lot of shows to watch, 'The Hills,' 'The City', 'Bromance,' and I know that because of that your brains probably hurt and that it's difficult to hold onto any kind of adult relationship.

"This show is so good it makes 'Walker Texas Ranger' look like 'Nash Bridges,'" Stewart said. "I don't know what that means."
TDS' token Brit John Oliver will also be appearing on the show, according to Multichannel News, which also mentions that Martin's show represents "the second pick-up under Comedy Central's first-look agreement with Jon Stewart's Busboy Productions Inc." The first pick-up? "The Colbert Report."

Conan's pressing the flesh

A follow-up to yesterday's post about Conan's switch to four new shows a week:

NBC publicist Sharon Pannozzo was kind enough to answer our query.

"Conan is basically taping 4 days a week, although he does double tapings on some days. He will be going on an affiliate tour most Fridays, visiting NBC affiliates around the country to promote the 'Tonight Show.'"

The famously convivial Leno was always happy to do the affiliate rounds when he took over "Tonight," and it looks like his successor is doing the same.

Edited to add...

The "Late Night" blog also addresses Conan's busy travel schedule.

Seriously though; things here at the show are nuts for everyone for the next month or so, because Conan is flying all over the country shooting stuff for local affiliates! This means that our show taping schedule is totally crazy; after all, we can't do a show when Conan's not around. You kind of, uh, need that guy for an episode of Late Night with CONAN O'BRIEN.

How's the schedule crazy? Well, for starters, we aren't taping shows on Fridays any more for a while - there's no show tomorrow, for instance - and we're taping TWO (2) shows next Tuesday! It gets even more crazy later on, but I don't have the energy to get into that right now.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Conan cuts back to 4 new shows a week

Longtime "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" viewers will recall that for years, Conan did four new shows a week, with a rerun on Monday. He switched to five shows a week in September 2006, according to this item: "Faced with the almost inevitable switch to a five-nights-a-week schedule when he takes over 'The Tonight Show' in three years, Conan O'Brien is increasing his load by one night a week starting this season."

Well, now that he's practically out the door, Conan appears to be returning to his old format of four new shows a week plus a repeat (on Friday, not Monday this time around). Tomorrow's show will feature a rerun from Sept. 10 with Curtis Jackson, Kaitlin Olson and Gym Class Heroes, while Friday the 16th's rebroadcast from Sept. 26 has guests Brooke Shields, Robert Reich and Amos Lee.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

From "Soup" to late night?

If there's one TV program Talk Show News loves even more than "The Daily Show," it's "The Soup," E!'s weekly compendium of wacky clips, primarily taken from reality and talk shows. "The Soup" sprang from "Talk Soup," which served as a launching pad for hosts Greg Kinnear and Hal Sparks. (Personally, TSN always favored John "Skunk Boy" Henson, whose, shall we say, uneven career trajectory since leaving the show for a deal with ABC ultimately led to his hosting the game show "Wipeout.")

"The Soup" host Joel McHale's star has been on the rise for the past year or so. TSN caught his stand-up routine in early December -- his comedy tour was cheekily titled "Thank You For the Pool," because he was going to use the proceeds to renovate his new L.A. home -- and while he was fairly unpolished compared to comics who made their way up through the comedy circuit, he obviously has charm to spare. Lately, McHale has been turning up on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and has appeared a guest on several late night talkers. It was inevitable that someone would conclude, "Hey, maybe this guy should be hosting a talk show!"

Ben Grossman of Broadcasting and Cable interviewed McHale on that very topic. Grossman reported that McHale's goal is to become an actor, a la Kinnear and Sparks; indeed, he has a role in the forthcoming Steven Soderbergh movie "The Informant." ("The Soup" moved to Illinois briefly while McHale was filming there.) However, McHale was willing to consider the idea of hosting a talk show. “If a show was available, yeah, I'd like to throw my hat in,” McHale says. “But it's not even worth thinking about because there are so few jobs and there's no real audition process.”

He recognizes that it's a difficult job. “It requires so many things: You have to be funny and you have to interview well, but you can't just be those things,” he says. “There is still some X-factor, and I don't know if I have that. I just don't know. Like when Letterman went down with his heart surgery, some of the funniest people in the world hosted the show and it was really bad.”

Sadly, it seems that McHale's days on "The Soup" are probably numbered, as he tries to move into something bigger and better than E!, where his show often slotted in before and after reality junk like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" and "The Girls Next Door." Whether he becomes an actor or a talk show host, though, the charismatic and hilarious McHale seems to have the right stuff to succeed.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Third time's the charm?

Congrats to Craig Ferguson and Megan Wallace Cunningham, who were married over the holidays. It was the third walk down the aisle for Craig, who has already come up with his own tabloid nickname ("Cragan") for himself & his bride. You can see a pic of Craig and his art dealer wife at

Colbert & Colmes

You might think that both "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" had spent part of the holiday chasing down special surprise guests, but in fact "TDS"' Anderson Cooper bit, in which the CNN anchor moderated a doggie debate, has been in the can for a while -- and it felt kinda stale. But the "debut" of Stephen Colbert's new format, "Colbert and Colmes," featuring the erstwhile partner of FOX News' right wing star Sean Hannity, was a hilarious winner. Stephen made Alan Colmes recite inane catchphrases, including "Hamburger, you're good!" and "Aw, snap!" He also seated Colmes in a tiny chair at least a foot shorter than his own. If you missed it, enjoy the hilarity:

Colmes told the AP that he thought the show "was very well done." "As to how working with Colbert compares to working with Hannity, Colmes said: 'Both are extremely gracious, although I feel a lot taller sitting next to Sean Hannity.'"

The partnership was so funny, despite Colmes' obvious awkwardness doing comedy, that I was a little disappointed when Colbert "fired" him at the end of the broadcast. Bravo to the writers who cooked up this bit.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Craig Ferguson on Million Dollar Password

If you missed Craig Ferguson's appearance on last night's "Million Dollar Password," the full episode is available at It's worth watching, if only for the priceless moment when Craig is given the word "Scotland," and comes up with the clues "Country" and "Fabulous"!

The Florida Sun-Sentinel's Tom Jicha reports, "'Tonight Show' heir Conan O'Brien... was beaten head-to-head recently by Craig Ferguson. The margin was so slight that it's inconsequential, except for the fact that O'Brien will soon be taking on David Letterman, who has vastly superior name recognition, habit viewing and incumbency in the 11:35 p.m. hour going for him... [M]aybe the real rising star in late night is Ferguson, a genuinely unique talent. If Ferguson isn't Letterman's successor-in-waiting, CBS isn't any smarter than the knuckleheads at NBC who took the Tonight Show from Leno." (Here's the CBS press release about Craig's "upward trajectory" in the ratings.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Guests of the Week: Jan. 5-9, 2009

Here are our picks for the guests who will be worth watching during the coming week. Feel free to weigh in if you have a guest to recommend.

David Letterman welcomes Ricky Gervais on Monday. Jay Leno has Adam Carolla on Tuesday, and any appearance by the Ace Man is reason enough to set the TiVo in the Talk Show News household. Craig Ferguson's strong lineup includes William Shatner on Wednesday, Amy Sedaris on Thursday and Paula Poundstone on Friday. Bonnie Hunt hosts the always hilarious Carrie Fisher on Wednesday.

Don't Bother: New "Bachelor" Jason Mesnick makes the rounds on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (corporate synergy alert!) and franchise fan Ellen DeGeneres. Of course, since the show only starts airing Jan. 5, it's not like he'll be able to give anything away. "I'm madly in love with... someone!" Boring!

This week's Iron (Wo)man Award for Publicity goes to "Bride Wars" stars Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, who will be plugging their movie on "Late Show" (Kate), "Tonight Show" (Anne), "Late Night" (Kate), "The Daily Show" (Kate), "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (Anne), "The View" (Kate), "Live with Regis and Kelly" (both) and "Ellen DeGeneres" (Anne). I'll just be glad when the film finally hits theaters so I won't have to sit through that stupid trailer again.

Update, 1/5: Kate Hudson's off and Rachel Maddow is on Wednesday's "Daily Show," and Gervais is now scheduled to appear on Wednesday's "Late Show with David Letterman."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Time Warner Cable, Viacom reach a deal

Happy New Year! It's certainly happy for fans of "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report," since Time Warner Cable managed to reach an agreement with Viacom last night.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Forget the Jimmy Fallon countdown widget -- I'm counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until "TDS" and "TCR" return from break. That will be exactly 4 days and 11 hours from now...