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.

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.

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.

Seth Meyers Inherits Late Night From Jimmy Fallon In New York


Jimmy Fallon has passed his late night show over to Seth Meyers from SNL fame. Jimmy has owned Late Night for the last five years after Conan O’Brien was booted because of terrible ratings. Subsequently, the NBC executives reinstalled Jay Leno back in The Tonight Show slot. Conan could have taken his Late Show slot back, but chose to go on to host his own show on TBS a year later (and was $12 million richer from the non-compete contract he had with NBC.)

With Jimmy Fallon now graduating to Jay Leno’s slot on The Tonight Show, there leaves a void to be filled on Late Night and Seth Meyers (from NBC’s SNL) gets the pickle passed to him. The new show with Meyers will still be in the after-midnight 12:35am TV show time slot – a slot that is very hard to garner TV audience, especially with so much TV and non-TV competition out there. Seth Meyers “new” version of the show will have a new format and will include some skits lifted straight from SNL, some on-the-street clips, as well as the standard format of the opening monologue and a bunch of interesting guests to boot.

It’s good that the NBC show is recorded at 5PM EST as Meyers is only a year younger than Fallon at the ripe old age of 40. Late Night has a history of burning out the host, who often doesn’t feel any pressure to attract a big audience, but can often feel that their show is going nowhere fast, leading to motivational issues for them and their staff. Graduating to a better time slot is almost unheard of: Conan underlined that, but Fallon managed to buck the trend, showing that it is possible.

The “Passing Of the Pickle” is a tradition created by David Letterman, who departed Light Night many years ago where the staff on the show bestowed a giant plastic pickle upon the fresh faced new host, Conan O’ Brien. Jimmy Fallon, too,  received the pickle from Conan O’Brien, but the tradition goes way back: a number of TV hosts over the years have exchanged the pickle including Jack Paar and Ed Sullivan, who received real pickles from Katz’s deli. The pickle is a metaphor for being passed a lame duck time slot.

Jimmy Fallon vacates the Late Night on February 6, 2014 to get ready for The Tonight Show debut and Seth Meyers starts the new show Late Night on February 24, 2014. No indication yet of what NBC executives expect to see in terms of success or failure, but with their history they may even forget that he is on their channel. With Seth Meyers experience on SNL and on the daytime yakker show Live with Kelly, this should stand him in better than his competition for this slot that reportedly included Alec Baldwin, George Lopez,W. Kamau Bell, Whitney Cummings, Gordon Elliot and Maury Povich, all veterans of the TV circuit.