Fall Gears Up for Slew of New NYC TV Shows

Neil Patrick Harris’ “Best Time Ever” Premieres Sept 15th on NBC

neil patrick harris best time everIn fall 2015, a lot of changes are afoot on network television. Neil Patrick Harris, the beloved star of stage and screen from such shows as Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch and CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, has a new variety show coming to NBC. The name of this show has been announced: Best Time Ever. The variety show will be based off of the British program on ITV called Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. A teaser was shown during this year’s Super Bowl, which thoroughly excited Harris’ huge fan base, but the name and premiere date were only announced recently. This past week, NBC set its fall premiere dates and Best Time Ever is set to begin a week before the rest of the shows. Best Time Ever will launch on Tuesday, September 15th at 10:00pm, after the finale of America’s Got Talent. For the majority of its run, however, it will be at the 8:00pm slot on Tuesdays. The variety show includes a mixture of comedy, musical numbers, performances, sketches, and celebrity guests, and therefore is suitable for an early evening demographic. The rest of the NBC new programming will start the following week.

“Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Daily Show with Trevor Noah”late show stephen colbert

As for late night television, two programs are launching their new hosts this fall. Stephen Colbert, who has been on leave from late night since wrapping up The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, will premiere his new part as host of the Late Show on September 8, 2015 on CBS. This also marks a summer break for Late Show, as David Letterman hosted his final episode of Late Show with David Letterman on May 20, 2015. Over the summer, the network opted to air reruns of sitcoms rather than reruns of Late Show, so that fans will be eager for the new host after having been without any episodes for the summer. Colbert’s first hosts have not yet been disclosed, but he has launched a podcast and website while his writing team is busy conceiving the new show, as well as the Colbert demeanor without the faux daily show with trevor noahconservative Colbert character from The Colbert Report. In addition, the Daily Show on Comedy Central will be undergoing a shift in leadership. Jon Stewart steps down with his final episode airing August 6, 2015. After a short break, Trevor Noah will step into his shoes, with the first show airing September 28, 2015. Trevor Noah was a controversial choice for the Daily Show replacement, as he is a 31 year-old relatively inexperienced comedian from South Africa. After the announcement was made, there was a bit of a backlash on social media with some fans declaring him a racist and anti-Semite. However, this is likely a resistance to anyone replacing the beloved Jon Stewart, and Comedy Central stands behind their choice of Trevor Noah as a new face on their network.

Dr. Phil to Launch New TV Show in Fall 2016dr phil

Looking ahead to the following fall, Dr. Phil McGraw, best known just as Dr. Phil, has partnered with DailyMail.com to launch a new syndicated television show. Like much of the content currently on the site, this show will focus on celebrity news. It is not yet clear whether Dr. Phil will be a regular on-camera presence on the show, only that he will appear if the Daily Mail wants to run interviews he has done for his own show, Dr. Phil. The producers of this new show will be Dr. Phil, his son Jay, and Carla Pennington, who is the executive producer of Dr. Phil. The show will most likely be based in New York, although there are plans to have studios in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Sydney. The new DailyMail show will be distributed by CBS, which also distributes Dr. Phil. Dr. Phil declared that he saw an opportunity to create something utterly unique, unlike anything else on TV. Further details are yet to come to describe exactly what this will be.

David Letterman Retires from “Late Show” with Final Episode

Final Show Airs May 20, 2015 on CBS

david lettermanFor 22 years, David Letterman has been the host of the Late Show with David Letterman, airing five late nights a week on CBS. Including his previous tenure on a late night talk show on NBC, this represents the end of 32 year career for David Letterman as the king of late night. At age 68, he finally feels ready to step down and pass the mantle. On May 20, 2015, the final episode of the Late Show with David Letterman airs on CBS. He will be succeeded by Stephen Colbert, whose The Colbert Report has gained immense acclaim with American viewers, but the Late Show with Stephen Colbert will not begin until September 8, 2015, allowing a summer break for viewers to get accustomed to Letterman’s departure and become eager for the new premiere. David Letterman has influenced generations of comedians, setting the tone for an entire era of comedy that was way ahead of his time. Unlike Johnny Carson who preceded him on the late night landscape, Letterman was not afraid to point out artifice around him, bringing an anarchic quirkiness to television that has undoubtedly paved the way for Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and Craig Ferguson.

Tom Hanks and Bill Murray Among Final Week Guestsdavid letterman bill murray

Among the guests to appear on the final week of the Late Show with David Letterman, Tom Hanks made his 60th appearance on a show hosted by Letterman. His first time appearing with David Letterman took place on April 4, 1984. For Monday night’s show, Tom Hanks sat on the couch one final time. Also on that show, Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam performed, backed by Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra. For Tuesday night’s show, Bill Murray made his 44th appearance on a show hosted by Letterman. He was also a guest on the first ever Late Night in 1982, getting Letterman off to an excellent start with the undeniable chemistry between the duo. In a hilariously memorable moment, Murray walked on the stage in 1982 proclaiming that he had missed the beginning of the show, and asked what happened, and if it had been going well. In addition, for this penultimate episode, Bob Dylan was the musical guest. At age 73, Dylan hasn’t performed on a Letterman show in 22 years. The last time was in 1993, which was the first season the show played on CBS. As for the final show on May 20, the guests will be a slew of surprises, including a final Top Ten.

Changing the Landscape of Late Night Forever

With the departure of Letterman, late night viewers are awaiting the fall when Stephen Colbert will transition into this more serious role, a departure from his farcical portrayal as the faux conservative character he has played on The Colbert Report. This is not the only change taking late night by storm. In addition, Craig Ferguson completes his tenure on The Late Late Show also on CBS in December 2015. His replacement, the British comedian James Corden who starred on Broadway in One Man, Two Guvnors, will not begin until March 2016. It is unclear if there will be guest hosts in the interim between Letterman and Colbert, although CBS has announced that there will be guest hosts for The Late Late Show between Ferguson and Corden. In any case, the set for the Late Show with David Letterman will be torn down at the Ed Sullivan Theatre, making the way for Stephen Colbert to do his best to step into those very worthy shoes.

Letterman Announces Final Show Date; Colbert Announces Debut

Letterman Will Step Down on May 20, 2015

David Letterman Studio - smallSince 1993, David Letterman has been leading his late night talk show, Late Show with David Letterman on CBS. In April 2014, it was announced that he would retire, and then in December, the date of May 20, 2015 was given as the day he would conclude his tenure. He has served as a role model for many talk show hosts who became his contemporaries and some his successors. He received a prestigious honor at the 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors in 2012, and he earned the George Foster Peabody Award in 1992 for his innovative contribution to the talk show genre. His comedy has been honored with accolades ranging from the first of Comedy Central’s annual “The Comedy Awards” Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence, to the twice receipt of the American Comedy Awards honor of Funniest Male Performer. His retirement has been a slow revelation to his reverent public, who will surely miss his regular presence of their television screens.

Colbert Will Take Over on September 8, 2015Steven Colbert and David Letterman take a selfie

After a summer hiatus, Late Show will continue with Stephen Colbert at the helm. His lauded and renowned The Colbert Report concluded on December 18, 2014. One of the major discussion points in the media has been over Colbert’s fake personality from The Colbert Report and whether he will be as successful in the more sober role of a straight talk show personality. The truth is, no one knows exactly what blend of comedy and character Colbert will bring to his new position, as he surely will not undermine his own comedic instincts. Rather, this will be a chance for him to flex his comedic muscle in a new way, a challenge that is in all probability quite welcome for a change of pace. He will be bringing his same support team from The Colbert Report to his new place on Late Show, and he will also clearly bring his trademark intelligence and wit. The show will still be topical and deal with current events, and he will need to introduce himself to his audience, new and old, as the real guy Stephen Colbert.

A Season of Late Night Host Handovers

Colbert taking over for Letterman is one of many handovers that has been announced this season. In early 2014, Jimmy Fallon took over for Jay Leno, and he has filled those shoes so seamlessly that many of his fans have probably forgotten his old timeslot. As for the inevitable chain reaction, Seth Meyers took over the vacant slot left by Jimmy Fallon in February 2014. Finally, Craig Ferguson gave his last episode of the Late Late Show on December 19, 2014, and it has recently been announced that his successor will be the British comedian James Corden, who is best known in the United States for his critically praised lead performance in Broadway’s One Man, Two Guv’nors. Now he will have a chance to show and refine his chops for a much wider American audience.

“The Colbert Report” Plays Its Final Episode

As Colbert moves on, the Colbert Character retires

colbert characterAfter nine years and 1,447 episodes, The Colbert Report played its final show on December 18, 2014 on Comedy Central. Though Colbert fans must concede their congratulations to their beloved host, who is moving on to host CBS’ The Late Show in a post vacated by the illustrious, long-standing David Letterman, they are also sorely disappointed. That is because the reason they came to love Stephen Colbert in the first place – his fictional ultra-conservative superhero furtively promoting liberal values – is supposed to be no more. True diehards of the show cannot image losing this character, who has at times seen so vividly real – such as when he spoke in front at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. However, in respect to the tradition held by David Letterman for decades (as well as for the ratings he brought in), Colbert will maintain the structure of The Late Show with his opening monologue, and non-character interviews of celebrities. However, audiences are still hoping to see glimpses of this character, because it is such an effective critical tool in a world where politically sensitive topics are frighteningly becoming risqué.

The Hilarious, Worthy Finale

The screwball final 30 minutes of The Colbert Report let Colbert release his character into eternity. He gazed into the eyes of Alex colbertTrebek to discover the answers to all the world’s questions, and he passed the torch to Jon Stewart. He threatened to kill off the character through the special guest of “Grimmy”, aka Death, but then suddenly, immortality took over, and a huge group of past guests convened all together to sing “We’ll Meet Again,” foreshadowing an eerie reincarnation of a supposedly departed figure. The show has been offbeat from the beginning, and it is to Colbert’s credit that the finale was just as unlikely – he didn’t cave to normalizing commercial pressures. Although the shelf life of this show is not certain, as his topics were always so timely, his contribution to the cultural mindset is definite.

He Provided a Revolution

Colbert himself admitted that he has served as a revolutionary figure over the past few years – for after all, a revolution is turning around 360 degrees and staying where you are. His humility is touching, but he is also being truthful to say that. He always showed the world what it was; his portrayals of conservative viewpoints were so mesmerizingly accurate that he was said to have convinced conservatives that he was speaking genuinely. That may have accounted for part of his fanbase, but ultimately it was the cunning ingenuity of the construct that made him such a successful satirist over the past decade. He managed to cause sincere belly laughs at the same time as expand our intellectual points of view. Though he will continue to play this role as host of The Late Show, he will also need to inevitably cut back on his mischief. However, the finale of “We’ll Meet Again” certainly implies that the Colbert character is not gone forever – but rather, like Santa Claus, hiding in the North Pole until he is needed next.

Stephen Colbert Gets Letterman Slot, Jon Stewart Ponders Future

Jon Stewart’s Contract is Up at the End of the Year

jon stewartJon Stewart has hosted The Daily Show on Comedy Central since 1999. This half-hour long late night satirical television show premiered in 1996 under the helm of Craig Kilborn, but it quickly became Stewart’s domain, and he has steered the ship ever since. It is a self-described fake news program, covering politics and the national media. The second longest running show on the network, The Daily Show has won 18 Primetime Emmy Awards. In a recent interview in The Hollywood Reporter, Stewart remarked that, like with anything if you do it long enough, there are aspects that come to feel like a grind. With Stephen Colbert recently promoted to the slot held by David Letterman in the CBS program The Late Show, it is clear that the talk show royalty is undergoing a transition. With Stewart’s contract up at the end of the year, he is pondering a transition as well. After all, Stewart was one of the major contenders to host The Late Show, and with Colbert securely in that role for years to come, he is looking to other avenues for his creative and professional outlets.

Jon Stewart’s Film Directorial Career

In June 2013, Stewart took a twelve week hiatus from hosting The Daily Show in order to direct a feature film called Rosewater. The film,rosewater which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and was shopped around to distributors at the Toronto Film Festival this past September, is a drama about a journalist who ended up imprisoned in Iran for four months. The shoot took place in Amman, Jordan, and difficulties were encountered such as an overlap with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, as well as the given long days and rigorous work schedule facing any feature film, as opposed to cable television. Stewart has inevitably faced a great deal of criticism for taking on such a controversial topic, and yet he has also encountered a lot of appreciation from his fans, who are happy to see him branch out into other realms of entertainment. In this light, it will be interesting to watch how Stewart’s career unfolds in upcoming years. Will he allow his contract to expire without renewing? Will he continue on this new track of directing feature films?

Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”

Whether it happens at the end of this year or not, it is unclear who will eventually take over Stewart’s throne on The Daily Show. Still, other changes are happening at the network. They just added two new writers: Hasan Minhaj and Trevor Noah. Minjah will replace the seat recently vacated by Michael Che as correspondent, and Noah will be a contributing writer starting this December. Like always, the show is staying fresh with new comedic voices, while Stewart sits comfortably in the pilot’s seat. Interestingly, the captivated audience of Daily Show fans often considers the show their primary news source, despite the fact that Stewart goes out of his way to make the show satirical. In spite of this, Stewart does have real news underneath the layers of satire. He co-authored several books including the 2004 bestselling America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction, which also dug its teeth into real issues underneath the jokes. In any case, Stewart is undeniably a pop culture icon in and of himself, independent of his role on The Daily Show, as proven when he hosted the Academy Awards in 2006 and 2008.

CBS Colberts Late Show Being Tempted By California

Will The Late Show Stay in New York?

On July 23, 2014, CBS announced that when Stephen Colbert takes over David Letterman’s longtime seat as host of The Late Show, the show will continue to be filmed at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio used social media to express his support of Colbert’s remaining in New York, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an official statement calling for Colbert staying in New York. Citing the reason that Colbert himself is New York based, Cuomo urged CBS President and CEO Les Moonves to continue the tradition of producing the show in the Ed Sullivan Theater. After all, The Late Show has long been a major source of revenue for the city and the state, as tourists flock to midtown and purchase tickets to sit in the audience of the show. However, several other locations made pleas for the show to move. Among these are New Orleans, Connecticut, and Los Angeles.

late show ed sullivan theaterLos Angeles Makes a Plea

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti publically plead for the show to move to Los Angeles, and California Assemblyman Mike Gatto even announced that he, along with Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, would consider revising legislation to expand the tax incentives, specifically to lure The Tonight Show among other TV shows that would benefit from such a revision. In particular, the new law would offer the benefits to non-scripted shows that are offered to scripted shows, which gives a 25% incentive when the show relocates to California from other states. Other talk shows that are produced in Los Angeles include those led by hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson, and Conan O’Brien. Still, a revised law might very well persuade more to follow suit. In February, Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show is taking a brief trip February 2-5, 2015 following their trip to Phoenix for the Super Bowl telecast. This marks The Tonight Show’s first stint out west since it moved back to New York City’s Rockefeller Center earlier this year.

colbert lettermanThe Late Show

The Late Show first aired in 1993 with David Letterman and its presenter and host. Letterman’s extensive career also included his role as the host of Late Night with David Letterman on NBC from 1982 to 1993. CBS’ The Late Show airs generally from 11:35pm to 12:37am, both Eastern and Pacific time. When it was announced in July that Colbert would take over Letterman’s seat, this marks the first time another host has led this show, and it will keep its same name rather than hanging to suit the new personality. Stephen Colbert, for his part, has long had a show on Comedy Central called The Colbert Report in which he plays a character. It has been announced that Colbert will leave his persona behind when he takes over Letterman’s job, instead playing it much more straight. It was also declared that the show would remain in New York City’s Ed Sullivan Theater. Despite Los Angeles’ attempts to revise its legislation in order to woo the show to the West Coast, New York stepped up to the challenge. First of all, CBS paid over $40,000 in campaign contributions to Andrew Cuomo in order for him to keep tax breaks in New York City. And it appears to have paid off, as a deal was made official on July 23, 2014 – including $16,000,000 in tax incentives over a period of five years. It therefore appears The Late Show will remain in New York City for the foreseeable future.

Stephen Colbert Takes Over Letterman in 2015

Exactly one week after David Letterman announced his retirement from The Late Show, a position he has held since 1993, CBS announced that his successor would be Stephen Colbert.  Colbert, who is now 49, has signed a 5 year agreement with CBS.  His premiere date is presently unclear, but it will likely be sometime in the first months of 2015.  The show will continue to be filmed in New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater.

stephen colbert late show david letterman cbs emmysColbert rose to prominence over the course of his comedy television career, and since 2005 he has hosted his own Comedy Central series The Colbert Report.  Where many had postulated that Letterman would be succeeded by others including Craig Ferguson, Ellen Degeneres, or Neil Patrick Harris, the consensus seems to be generally pleased with the network’s decision to select Colbert.  In fact, Colbert is so popular that the largest complaint from the public is bemoaning the loss of The Colbert Report, which is a show very different in tone and style than The Late Show has historically been.  Whereas The Late Show is a late-night talk show consisting of a standard monologue, guest interviews, and live musical performance, The Colbert Report stands out for its satirical tone, most notably due to Colbert’s adoption of an alter-ego persona for the duration of the tapings.

Colbert first began to develop his now-famous onscreen persona in 1996 when he appeared in seven episodes of ABC’s prime time sketch comedy show The Dana Carvey Show, honing his character of a deadpan anchor delivering the news.  From 1997 to 2005, Colbert was a regular correspondent on The Daily Show, which has been hosted by Jon Stewart since 1999.  Throughout this period, he developed his character into a blatantly ignorant correspondent, who is unaware of his own lack of knowledge on the subjects he discusses.  In this way, Colbert was able to strike a genius balance between mockery and deliverance of his true opinion, guarded by the shield of comedy.

With the inception of The Colbert Report in 2005, Colbert became notorious for this alternate persona, leading him to great fame including two Peabody Awards and 27 Emmy nominations, as well as the 2013 Emmy Award for outstanding variety series, among other wins.  He also authored several books in this character, including I Am America (And So Can You!) in 2007, and America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t in 2012.  With the announcement of Colbert’s assumption of Letterman’s position at The Late Show, it became clear that this meant the end of The Colbert Report, and many of the show’s over one million nightly viewers were less than pleased.

It is now clear that Colbert will officially retire his persona along with his Comedy Central series, and that he will adopt a more genuine voice as the host of The Late Show.  Many Colbert Report devotees will need to choose whether they maintain their devotion to the man behind the character, even when he is out of character.  As The Colbert Report offers a news alternative that is truly irreverent, Colbert will now need to finesse his new onscreen presence to satisfy The Late Show viewership along
with his longtime fans.

On this past Tuesday night, April 22, 2014, Stephen Colbert paid a visit to David Letterman as a guest on The Late Show.  Letterman welcomed him very good naturedly, and Colbert appeared in black-rimmed glasses that made it clear his persona was nowhere to be seen.  Unlike when Jay Leno was chosen to succeed Johnny Carson as host of NBC’s The Tonight Show, despite Carson’s clear preference of Letterman, this appears to be a case where the host is happily passing the mantle to his chosen successor.  To demonstrate just how supportive he is, Letterman and Colbert even took a selfie.

 

David Letterman and Steven Colbert Take Selfie

David Letterman Announces Retirement in 2015

During the April 3, 2014 taping of CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman, the beloved television host announced that he will officially retire in 2015.  Letterman has held this position on CBS since 1993, preceded by his role hosting NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman from 1982 to 1993.

His rise to fame began in his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana as an anchor and weatherman for the AM radio station WNTS.  After moving to Los Angeles in 1975, Letterman began his career as a comedy writer.  He became a regular contributor to the summer series The Starland Vocal Band Show, co-starred in a comedy special Peeping Times produced by Barry Levinson, and appeared on shows including Mary Tyler Moore’s variety show Mary, Mork & Mindy, and various game shows.  Through all this, he became a regular on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and soon was hosting his own morning show on NBC: The David Letterman Show.  Though the show was a critical success and earned two Emmys, it was cancelled in 1980 due to poor ratings.

NBC then decided to try Letterman in a different time slot, and thus began Late Night with David Letterman, filming in NBC Studios in New York at 12:30am Monday through Friday.  Its first guest was Bill Murray, and soon developed a cult following for being edgy and unpredictable.  In 1992, Johnny Carson retired, NBC gave the job of hosting The Tonight Show to Jay Leno instead of Letterman as many expected, and as Carson intended.  In response, Letterman left NBC for CBS, and the Late Show with David Letterman was born, taping at 11:30pm at the historic Ed Sullivan Theater.  That marked the beginning of a kind of “Talk Show War” between Leno and Letterman fighting for ratings.  Letterman rebranded himself as a bit more formal, both in terms of his wardrobe and the mood of the program.  He has held this job ever since, also appearing as the host of the Academy Awards in 1995, and re-signing his contract with CBS several times until 2014.  Yet his tenure was not without conflicts.

In October 2009, Letterman revealed on his show that he had been the victim of an attempted extortion of $2 million, threatening to reveal that he had had sexual affairs with several of his female employees.  After Letterman cooperated with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to conduct a sting operation involving a phony check, Robert J. “Joe” Halderman was arrested with the charge of attempted grand larceny, and served a 6-month jail sentence.  Following the event, several prominent women including the co-host of NBC’s The Today Show Kathie Lee Gifford questioned whether Letterman had created an unfair working environment.  Letterman issued a public apology to his wife and staff on October 5, 2009. Through all of this, it is amazing that he kept his position, but CBS time and again renewed his contract.

With Letterman’s retirement, almost all of the remaining late-night hosts will have come from the post-Johnny Carson era.  It is possible that the old style of comedy is no longer relevant, or perhaps Letterman, at age 67, was just ready to step down and enjoy his remaining years.  Just seven years after Johnny Carson retired from The Tonight Show, he suffered from a severe heart attack and underwent quadruple-bypass surgery.  He became somewhat of a recluse, and died six years later.  Carson was a heavy smoker, and of course we hope that Letterman will not endure a similar fate.  Still, it must not be easy to give up the mantle.

The future of Late Show is presently uncertain.  One potential successor is Craig Ferguson, who has hosted The Late Late Show following Letterman since 2005.  His contract, which expires at the end of the year, calls for either him to replace Letterman or to receive a payout.  Other options include Jon Stewart, who has a huge following, and whose present network Comedy Central is owned by the same company as CBS.  Furthermore, many people are interested in the idea of Chelsea Handler, who has just announced she will be leaving E! where she has hosted Chelsea Lately since 2007.  Other names in the mix are Amy Schumer of Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Conan O’Brien, Ellen Degeneres, and Neil Patrick Harris.  There is also talk that the show may move to Los Angeles.