Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"The Kilborn File" debuts, and reaction is... mixed!

Last night, Craig Kilborn's comeback vehicle "The Kilborn File" had its first airing in the six cities where it's getting a test run. Not living in one of the chosen markets, I checked in on Twitter to see what the real-time reaction was. Most people weren't actually talking about the content of the show, they were simply pissed off that Craiggers was running in place of "Simpsons" repeats. "Look out, Fox 5 (NYC) execs. You've made enemies," tweeted "Simpsonology." "FredBrooklyn" raged, "What genius at Fox decided to replace The Simpsons with this Greg Kilborn shit during dinner time?" And then there was this, from "IRollNY": "Craig Kilborn can eat a dick for taking The Simpsons time slot."

On this blog, one anonymous commenter was happy with the premiere: "The show was genius. He did his own introduction, but no 'Play that Funky Music' and no goofy voice when he said his name. It was like he never left. I think Christine Lakin is a waste though (she only had a 2 second bit which was not funny). Are you going to be adding his guest lineups to the website?" Answer: yes, I will try to get 'em, if the program makes it past its six-week tryout and expands into other markets.

What about the critics? Gawker's Anderson Evans was thrilled, calling it "a fast paced, testosterone filled, half hour of quips... What makes 'The Kilborn File' such a success isn't so much its interesting time slot (weeknights at 7pm ET), it's the formula itself. The show is everything 'The View' isn't: it's fast, it's irreverent, it's all done with a masculine point and a wink, and it couldn't have come at a better time. The original host of 'The Daily Show' hasn't changed his ways in his six year absence. He's as fast paced as he was on 'SportsCenter,' and as charming as he was on 'The Daily Show.' Even at his most sarcastic, you've got to love this guy."

The AV Club's Scott Von Doviak offered the opposing point of view, grading the premiere a "D." "The good news is that if Fox decides to pass on 'The Kilborn Files,' it will always have a home on public cable access. Coming to us from a broom closet-sized set in Hollywood, in front of a nonexistent yet strangely audible audience (hello, laugh track), the half-hour show begins with little fanfare as Kilborn takes a seat behind the desk to deliver his opening monologue. As he lobs topical jokes about Al Gore visiting massage parlors and the 11-hour marathon match at Wimbledon ('Tantric tennis!'), it quickly becomes clear that his trademark smarminess and self-infatuation are intact, albeit in greatly diminished form. Yes, hard as it is to believe, Kilborn is even blander now than in his heyday. (Also, his voice has taken on an unpleasant, strained Muppet-like quality that soon becomes grating.)... I [began] to suspect Kilborn has no intention of coming out of his early retirement at all. The whole thing seems like it was thrown together during happy hour."

I checked a bunch of other TV critics' web sites and Twitter feeds, but apparently they're choosing to ignore Kilborn... or wait for a few more episodes to air before giving their opinions. The low-key rollout, combined with a less glamorous time slot, has apparently placed "The Kilborn File" far off most critics' radar.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Someone was nice enough to post the first show here:


    Alas, all I was thinking while watching this was "You waited six years to come back... to THIS?!? Ugh." At least Craiggers has got six weeks to tweak and iron this puppy out.

  2. Steve K. said...


  3. Anonymous said...

    I can't believe FOX replaced The Simpsons with this Kilborn shit. I want The Simpsons back, or I'll beat Kilborn's ass! >:(

  4. Anonymous said...

    I agree with IRollNY

  5. Anonymous said...

    It was kinda rough, which I guess is to be expected on a first show like this. Clearly they're having Craiggers go through a bunch of news stories, then edit together the best ones for broadcast. Which sounds good in theory, but gets in the way of what Kilby does best, which is be in front of a "live" camera.

    Maybe it's an aspect of when the show's being produced to make air on the East Coast at 5 p.m. Makes the whole thing disjointed -- like you cued up a bunch of Kilborn youtube clips.

    And the whole deal with the side kick is comical -- couldn't they have negotiated with CBS for the rights to Craig's old Anna Kournikova video?

    The interview was fine. Celebrities answering random questions will always be a winner. But the panel is going to be rough to pull off.

    It was introduced towards the end of the "Late Late Show" run, where the show was on autopilot and something like this wasn't much of a challenge as they had built up enough self-references to bail them out. But it's risky for this show as they don't have the safety net of familiarity. Or William Shatner.

    Although, I agree with those who say there's this odd feeling throughout the program that Kilborn never left TV. I mean, six years later, and he's still talking about Key lime pies! It's kinda weird, unsettling and gives the sensation that this is all one big practical joke of some sorts.

    Still, nice to see Craiggers back. For at least a little while.

  6. Anonymous said...

    As a reader of the late night listings since the beginning (I think? At least since they were only(?) available through Aaron Barnhart's TV Barn email mailing list) I am truly honored to have my comment added to your blog entry! I know I am in the TINY minority of people that like the Kilborn File. Keep in mind, I LOVE late night TV (well, I like talk show TV in general. I TiVo Larry King Live (retiring! I thought he was going to die on TV), Joy Behar, The View, Letterman, Leno, Ferguson, Fallon, Carson Daly, George Lopez, (Conan), Chelsea Handler, Daily Show, Colbert, Kimmel, Bill Maher, Regis (wonder if he will follow King's lead), Ellen, Tavis Smiley. NO I don't watch them all every day. 75-80% of them I delete without watching. The others maybe watching 1 guest here and there while fastforwarding. I just got tired of planning ahead to record which shows I was interested in based on the guest list - much easier to just TiVo them all and delete the ones that suck that day). Anyway, the point is I think I am a pretty good judge of this format. I LOVED The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. Kilborn >>>> Ferguson for me (which I know(?) I am in the minority for). I also loved Talk Show with Spike Feresten which was sadly cancelled by Fox. I did NOT like Wanda Sykes which was gladly cancelled by Fox. OK this comment isn't really going anywhere, but here's hoping Kilborn makes the cut (but either way he is one of the 20-25% that I WILL watch in its entirety until he is cancelled, and considering my insane amount of TV watching, that's saying something).

  7. Anonymous said...

    Here's some play-by-play:
    LOL today's guest is Sam Jaeger from Parenthood. NO WONDER they are not releasing the guest lists! I have never seen this guy on a talk show (and yes I am the same Anonymous who TiVo's nearly every talk show on TV). I do like how he still holds up photos of each guest when announcing them - classic (I think only Regis and Letterman still hold up photos in this digital age). They don't even have the Power Panel tonight - I had assumed that was a nightly event. Definitely don't watch this show for the guests. Christine Lakin is making use of herself doing a segment called "Speed News" where she shows photos to Kilby and he gives it a caption/headline/judgement. Luckily it doesn't sound like she is going to talk during the segment, lol. Oops, I spoke too soon.. she gave some scripted commentary on the opening segment which was NOT funny. Sam Jaeger was very boring and BLEW 5 questions.
    Tomorrow David Alan Grier.. solid.. later this week Peter Facinelli.. another Power Panel with Oscar Nunez (The Office) and The Eurythmics' Dave Stewart.

    Speed News.. 10 pictures that Kilby never saw before.. 60 seconds on the clock, can pass once. Lakin DOES verbally identify each picture when it is shown (Side note: the graphics department is pretty bad - I miss the CBS graphics).
    1) "Uniting through laughter- my kinda guy!" (picture of Obama)
    2) Prince Harry picture: "underdresser step up your game please!"
    3) Sneezing picture: "correct -into the elbow! we're evolving"
    4) two headed kittens: "freakish - two kittens yes, same body no"
    5) lakin: which one is canadian? [editors note: picture of 5 random people of different ethnicities]. "black guy in the vest" lakin: sorry I was looking for "who is grandma down front" CRICKETS FROM THE AUDIENCE ON THAT ONE
    6) lakin: the economy, up/down/sideways? (arrows going up and down economy style) kilby "not really sure but great time to buy arrows!"
    7) picture of elderly couple, kilby "overmedicated just look at em!"
    8) ripped guy in speedo, kilby: "PASS IT!" (quickly)
    9) picture of wind power device, kilby: "Big fan!"
    10) picture of mel gibson. kilby: "hey mel lay off the white russians!"

    OK that was longer than 60 seconds so forget the time limit part. (no clock was shown during the segment)


    Can anyone else tell me if they are getting this show in HD? becuase even the credits are half truncated on my TV since it is not broadcasting HD.

  8. Anonymous said...

    BTW what are those bullshit megavideo links? They just go to some fake site that requires signup.. or did the videos already get removed? In any case both Monday and Tuesday's episodes are widely available on the usual torrents and newsgroups - good to see anyone living outside the broadcast cities can see it if they want to. I'm just trying to confirm if other cities are getting HD...

  9. Anonymous said...

    OK the show is definitely available in HD somewhere.. maybe not in LA.. just in case I am going to record the HD Fox LA tomorrow .. maybe the guide is incorrectly not listing it as an HD broadcast

  10. Steve K. said...

    Maybe not in HD, but definitely in 16:9 wide screen format (i.e uncropped picture).
    Bullshit megavideo links are for easy streaming for people without torrents or Usenet. To play, push the GIANT FUCKING RED PLAY BUTTON in the center of the page. http://i46.tinypic.com/6sx66f.png

    Thanks for the recap, i'll be skipping this one.

  11. Anonymous said...

    Nice to see there are no "intellectual property" issues with CBS.. he brought back the comedy club desk (microphone, dim the lights) bit tonight.. CLASSIC

  12. Anonymous said...

    Also when I clicked the button it just kept showing me more ads. I don't have your touch.

  13. Anonymous said...

    Bring back the Simpsons!

  14. Anonymous said...

    I could care less about Craig--bring back the Simpsons!

  15. Jack said...

    Hey, Anonymous Simpsons fan: lay off the bong hits and get a life. Instead of watching a rerun of a mildly funny animated series for the 250th time, why not get off the couch, clean your room, or take the garbage out like mom wanted.

  16. Anonymous said...

    Fuck off Jack!

  17. Nappy said...

    Kilborn is only slightly funnier than Jimmy Fallon,which is like saying Miracle Whip is only slightly spicier than mayonnaise. I could do without both,& never miss them at all.
    Kilby will do well in MidWestern markets,but in urban centers & places where people still have active brain-cells...we prefer The Simpsons!

  18. Anonymous said...

    He does sound like a muppet now!!

    that review was right on.