Less Jaywalking, More Web-friendly Clips: Dos and Don'ts for Seth Meyers' Late Night Career


After weeks of educated speculation, NBC made it official during the Upfronts: Seth Meyers is taking over Jimmy Fallon's seat on Late Night come February 2014. Despite the surface similarities between Meyers and Fallon (Saturday Night Live pedigree, "Weekend Update" hosting credits, a relationship with super-producer Lorne Michaels, whiteness), Meyers' move to Late Night is a logical, safe choice for NBC. And really, he brings a more composed, intelligent persona to the show, something both Fallon and Conan O'Brien lacked when they started on Late Night. Although the transition will not be easy, I would wager that Meyers will fare better in the early going than those two who came before him. He's certainly not as awkward as Conan was in the early 1990s, nor is he as full of kinetic energy as Fallon was (and sort of still is) when he started. Meyers is, above all else, a professional. Late Night might not be the most exciting or thrilling show with him behind the desk, but it will likely be smart and well-composed. 

But here's the thing (and this seemingly always gets brought up in discussions about who's going to host what, and when): late-night shows are part of an older model and era of television. They haven't aged particularly well since David Letterman deconstructed the format with his turn on Late Night two-plus decades ago. The format and components have remained mostly the same for ages: monologue, a few pre-taped or in-studio bits, two guests, and a musical or comedy performance. The monologues aren't especially lively anymore, as Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert have grabbed hold of the relevant political commentary and the viral nature of the web takes care of a lot of the buzzy pop culture content. The guest interviews rarely provide any fascinating insights or must-see moments because the entire process is so orchestrated by publicity people (no shots at them; keep doing your thing). And most of all, there's no real impetus to watch late-night shows live. Most of us either have stuff on our DVRs that we need to get through or we assume that any relevant moments will spread on Twitter, Reddit, or Buzzfeed the next day.

In short, there's very little innovation in the late-night formula right now. Yet, every time someone gets a new show, we hope that they'll start to reinvent the process. When Conan O'Brien was freed from the "mainstream" vibes of The Tonight Show, lots of people thought he'd do all kinds of interesting stuff on his TBS show. That didn't happen. Fallon's version of Late Night is the most "current" show in late-night, full of pre-tapes and in-studio segments that are tailored completely to the internet, but he still struggles with everything else—and I get the sense that some of his more interesting elements might get flushed once he moves to an earlier time period in 2014. So with Meyers becoming the latest possible savior of late-night TV, I thought it might be prudent to discuss what he could consider borrowing from his competitors, and what he should avoid all together. 

So over the last couple weeks, I've watched all the major late-night talk shows (Letterman, Leno, Conan, Kimmel, Fallon, and Ferguson) at least twice, and I've crafted a list of dos and don'ts inspired by each host/show for Meyers to consider once he takes over Late Night early next year. 



DO: Embrace what you're good at, and don't shy away from politics and sports


This one is pretty self-explanatory, and surely Meyers (with Lorne Michaels' help) will do it anyway. However, I do think it's important, at least in the beginning, that he stick to what he knows. It's likely that the interviewing skills will only come with time, but we know that Seth can write (after years as the head writer at SNL) and that he does pretty well delivering a string of jokes (after years as the "Weekend Update" anchor). I'm wary of advocating for any new late-night host to emphasize the monologue because the pressure of delivering a solid one night after night can be horrible, but Meyers already has the skill set to do it. Even though I haven't seen him do a single monologue, I would bet that he's already better at them than Fallon and probably better than Conan (who coasts almost entirely on performative tics and interactions with Andy Richter, which is fine). Letterman and Leno almost entirely phone it in at this point (for example, Leno recently told a number of tepid O.J. Simpson jokes), while Kimmel and Ferguson's monologues work because they mix in some extra goodies that avoid set-up-joke-set-up-joke structures. Kimmel uses a lot of clip gags, and Ferguson's interaction with the close-up camera and audience members inject just enough life into their respective shows at the top. 

Based on what I know about Meyers, he has a number of different interests, but it might be interesting to see him take on politics a bit more directly. He killed at the White House Correspondent's Dinner a few years ago and has certainly guided some solid political sketches at SNL. None of the current late-night hosts go that route very often (well, Leno tries, but his potshots are't funny), perhaps out of disinterest or perhaps out of fear that Stewart and Colbert already have that sector on lockdown. Meyers is capable of handling the material on his own, which might make his monologue stronger than some of his competitors who rely on partners or band leaders to bounce material off. 

I'd also be interested in seeing Seth engage with sports more regularly. It was reported last week that ESPN pushed real hard to build a late-night show around him. Generally, the late-night hosts avoid that topic unless there's a scandal to talk about. Meyers is a knowledgeable sports fan; that could be appealing to new viewers, and it could differentiate him from everyone else on late night.



DON'T: Limit the focus on guest interview, and change it up a little


Serious question: When's the last time an interview segment from a late-night show interested you? They usually aren't worth the time. I tried not to skip some of them during my viewing, but it's hard to listen to Conan ask Jennifer Love Hewitt about her boobs for the fourteenth time since 2000, or to watch Letterman and Mark Harmon compete for the title of the most disinterested multi-millionaire. Leno has always lofted softball questions to his guests, Conan can still be an awkward mess, Fallon is way too nice, and Letterman only busts out a retro performance every once in a while (I guess the most recent one would be Selena Gomez). Kimmel is probably today's best interviewer, if only because he isn't afraid to verbally spar with, or even flat-out make fun of, his guests. Ferguson creates a more playful, cocktail hour-like feel with his, which can be fun, but also sometimes results in interviews that go absolutely nowhere. 

For better or for worse, the interviews are going to be part of this new version of Late Night; otherwise, the studios, networks, and record companies just won't be interested in the show. It would be really fascinating to watch Meyers push guests into more serious discussions (something like a watered-down version of what Jon Stewart does), but it's unlikely that he will. However, I would advocate mixing up the format and number of the interviews more often. Why not have some nights where there's only one guest who can then be involved in pre-tapes and in-studio bits along with an interview? Why not interview more than one person at once more regularly? Fallon did this when Justin Timberlake hung around for an entire week a few months back and Kimmel let Matt Damon hijack the entire show for a night. And guess what? Those are probably the most memorable shows of 2013 so far. It might also be interesting to start the interviews much earlier or much later, depending on the guest or the night. Fallon and Ferguson sometimes don't start their first interviews until nearly halfway through the show, and it almost doesn't matter if the guests are rushed because the conversations aren't compelling anyway. The point is that very few viewers care about the interviews unless they simply love that guest, so don't just have them because that's how it's always been done. 



DO: Keep the guests involved, just in other ways


This doesn't mean that guests shouldn't come on the show; the format just won't work without them. But the better late-night shows (Kimmel, Fallon, sometimes Conan, Ferguson, and Letterman) use their guests in different contexts. The traditional model is to let the guest play a role in some silly in-studio bit (like Kimmel and J.J. Abrams taking "suggestions" from diehard Star Wars fans), but that typically results in more misses than hits. Kimmel and Fallon do their best work with pre-taped interactions with the guests, from musical performances to video series primed for web viewing. Even when Conan, Leno, Fallon and Letterman come up with stupid games for the guests to play (such as Fallon's recent Facesketball segment with Bradley Cooper), it takes a really good guest to make the bit work. Conan and Letterman are especially good at making something very stupid seem enjoyable, because they take it to an ironic extreme, whereas Fallon's enthusiasm for everything sometimes makes a childish game feel even more moronic. Meyers' experience working on SNL means he probably has a good relationship with the cavalcade of stars who will appear on his show; thus, he should, in theory, be able to convince them to participate in non-interview segments. 



DO/DON'T: More short videos, less man-on-the-street stuff


This might just come down to budget and time constraints, but because the 21st century late-night show should always be thinking about how to produce segments that fit perfectly into a short internet clip, video-like projects should be valorized over man on the street gags. Again, think about the content you've watched from late-night shows over the last few years. Chances are it was probably something Fallon, Kimmel, and maybe Conan did in short video form. It probably wasn't "Jaywalking," or other of the other "let people do dumb things on camera" bits that Leno churns out on a seemingly nightly basis. Leno recently had comedian/actor Trevor Moore on, who offered really dumb inventions to people and then filmed the results. It wasn't funny, and it also felt like it could have been dusted off from Leno's 1996 archives. 


On the flip side, Kimmel introduced his latest video series, "The Baby Bachelor," and it was both amusing and all over the internet the next morning. Fallon's various ongoing pre-taped video segments ("Downton Sixby," "Real Housewives of Late Night," Robert is Bothered, etc.) regularly produce laughs, they give various guests something different to do, and they work perfectly on the internet. There's really no reason why Meyers cannot do something similar, while finding his own voice within the framework. 


Ultimately, I think the best version of Late Night with Seth Meyers looks like a mash-up of "Weekend Update," The Daily Show, and Kimmel and Fallon's prioritization of the internet and shareable clips. If the publicity machine won't allow him to engage in real discourse with his guests (and it probably won't), then he should ditch the typical framework as much as he can. Meyers has the potential to be the best new late-night host in years; with his established skills, he could probably do a typical late-night show easily. But he could also turn the format on its head by doing something brand-new. I'm betting the new show will end up somewhere in the middle. 


What do YOU think Meyers should do? What parts of late-night TV are still appealing to you in 2013?

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I've never been all that sold on Meyers. Let's face it. He only really got the Weekend Update desk cuz Fallon, Fey, and Poehler moved out. He was the only one left and got the desk by default.

It's like when you start a job as a truck unloader at a retail store and you have a manager and 3 - 4 other guys that have been there longer to help guide you. You work there long enough and eventually the manager (Fallon) leaves or gets promoted somewhere else and the 3 - 4 other guys (Fey & Poehler) above you quit at some point to get real jobs. Then, there you are, suddenly at the top of the heap cuz you've been there the longest. Same with Meyers at SNL.

His jokes aren't that great. Sure there's one or two gems in the pile of coal. But that's not enough to base a nightly, hourly show around. And he DOES YELL his punchlines, as if that makes them somehow funnier. Also, saying you're a "head writer" at SNL isn't something to brag too loudly about. That show sucks. Has for years. Name me 2 funny skits, or 3 even, if you can from the last 2 years that don't have Justin Timberlake in them. Can you? Did Meyers write them?

His new show won't be any better than what's already out there, thats for sure. And a slight possibility exists that it wont be any worse. So, kudos NBC. You found another scoop of plain boring vanilla to throw on top of your already melting ice cream cone.
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The one section of American TV that I just don't get, a UK weekly late night show like Jonathan Ross is hard to sit through let alone a daily one, and any time I've seen bits of American late night shows they are awful. The Larry Sanders Show killed them all dead years ago.
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And by "composed, intelligent persona" you mean he screws up easy jokes with clumsy punchlines, he yells his jokes, he finds the lowest common denominator punchlines, laughs at his own jokes and breaks constantly, uses recurring characters from other cast members to fill time, and basically exists solely on pretenses that he's composed and intelligent?

I highly doubt that people will flock to Seth Meyers' take on the Late Night show right after Fallon. Meyers isn't as smart as his competition for that "smart, hip" market, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Meyers isn't as funny, creative, or fresh as his timeslot competition, Craig Ferguson. He doesn't have a particularly loyal following on his own. And his writing style on SNL isn't as tight as his predecessors, starting with Tina Fey.

Your take on late night is pretty much spot on, it's why I stopped watching Conan. That said, it's also why I watch Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson so devotedly, the show openly and loudly mocks the format far moreso than Letterman's schtick. Ferguson never turns in a cheap interview, there's very little salesmanship going on, no "tell me about your new project" stuff unless he himself is interested. He doesn't go for a pre-written monologue about the day's events, it's 80% or more improvised in the moment and rarely about the political scene. There's a reason Craig Ferguson was hand-picked by Johnny Carson's old producer to helm the show, and there's not a lot of chance that Meyers can compete in any of that.

To me, Meyers' take on politics is infantile, it shows a low understanding, but that could be him shooting for the lowest common denominator in which case it's smarter than it seems - I don't see that though. I don't doubt he'll be better at monologuing than Fallon, that guy is stiff as a board.

I can't stand the Jon Stewart interviews anymore, he's either too soft, too much a pushover for "tell me about your movie", or too outraged - that's the part of the show I fast-forward through most of the time when I watch. Less of that would be better, so naturally that's where they'll aim anybody new that comes out of a political comedy background.

Meyers' show will be New York-based, and it seems like those sorts of man on the street bits come out of LA-based shows. Letterman has mocked it and done it in the past, but it always seems more challenging because the atmosphere on the street is more "fuck you, get out of my way, I'm going somewhere to stab someone and snort something, and it's cold as a witch's tit out here!"
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So you're saying he shouldn't quit his day job?
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Not saying that, he should TOTALLY quit his day job.
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Cory's articles are always very thoughtful. I like them.

However for me Conan, Leno, Kimmel, Fallon, Letterman and I'm guessing Myers are late-night hosts. While Craig Ferguson is... well.. Craig Ferguson. He's in a league of his own, doing a thing of his own. It's the most natural, most funny, most awkward, most silly (a gay robot skeleton and a horse. Come on!) and most entertaining late night show. I agree that if you watch a couple of shows you just see it as a late night show. And in an objective look at the late-night scene, which Cory did right here, that is appropriate. But when you watch Ferguson longer - for two weeks or more, it begins to work like crack. You just can't stop and you never want to switch to anything else. After Ferguson, every single one of those other hosts seem unfunny, unnatural and most importantly - FAKE. I can't take Fallon's exaggerated enthusiasm like a real thing, Leno is just ... well sad really, Kimmel quite ok actually, Letterman - monotonous and Conan quite funny but awkward (in a bad way) with his sidekick sitting there. All sidekicks in late-night scene after Ferguson seem like Robins (the one from that old silly tv show) to their Batmans - sad, useless and unhappy that they're not Batman themselves.

Ferguson has the one thing other seem to lack - HEART. You might have to watch the show for two weeks, maybe for a month, have to look up clips where he eulogized his mother, his father, talked about the bombings, talked about Britney Spears' problems, talks about his own addiction problems, his interviews with Bishop Desmond Tutu, Stephen Fry and other clips, but you will come to see the heart of the show.

And then it's nearly impossible to take the other late-night hosts as real people.
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You left out the puppets, and the occasionally laser-eyed kitten at the end.
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Totally agreed, and I had to consciously restrain myself from my own comment gushing more beyond that over Ferguson.
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Craig Ferguson is the only one who makes the Late Night Show watchable. He's brilliant, funny and has just enough of a quirk to make his shows interesting and entertaining. I hope Seth goes along Ferguson's path rather than Fallon, Leno or Letterman's path (all three are equally dreadful).
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I really like Craig Ferguson for his nonsensical interviews, most of the time the guest seem to be having fun, I also like Letterman because he doesn't try to force anything otherwise late shows are pretty boring (Leno, Conan etc.)
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Nobody can be better than Jimmy Fallon! The guy is the best and funniest from all night shows! Second place goes to Craig Ferguson cause the guy doesn't need to do anything other than just talk and he is funny
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I doubt I'll watch Seth, my dislike for him grew as I begun to feel he overstayed his welcome on SNL. I'll stick with Fallon, and Ferguson, and now I can watch them back to back. :)
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Thank you! Couldn't agree more!
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does anyone know who will replace him on weekend update?
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I think it's time to kill weekend updates. It was the one part of SNL that I didn't like. I liked it ONLY when he had characters like Stefan for example... And now that's also gone!
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What a ridiculous statement. It's considered to be the best sketch of the show. Look at all of the great people who have come off of the segment. Without WU, Tina Fey would have not done 30 Rock, Fallon may not have gotten the Tonight Show, and Poehler might not be doing Parks and Rec.
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@mrjimmyjames

I don't like Seth and I don'r really fuss about something on tv.com to go looking for it on wikipedia. I see your point but at the same time, I don't completely agree. It takes much more than JUST one SNL skit to really highlight an actor/writer. Plus, as you mentioned Mean girls, Tina Fey was the one that pushed the book on the first place to be made into a film and not the other way around. Also, for the past years Weekend update IS with just Seth Meyers and even though I watch and love every SNL episode, I almost always find this skit unfunny; only the occasional appearance of some other characters makes it ok. I find Seth Meyers always unoriginal and uncreative and the fact that people keep referring to all that history behind WU, just makes it even more lame as it used to be great and now it's not. Nevertheless you are right, I should have just said to bring another anchor for WU.
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Considered to be the best sketch of the show according to whom? You give a sketch too much power over all those people. It's not because of that sketch but their involvement in general to SNL that made them who they are now! Maybe Weekend updates is 'important' but Seth Meyers is nonetheless annoying. And that is my opinion and the reason I don't like Weekend Updates With Seth Meyers!
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@FilmFanatic

Relax, I'm under 30 too. Have you ever considered looking at the wikipedia page referring to the segment or the actors involved before replying? That's cool if you don't like Seth, but you could have chosen to say "i wish for a different anchor". You're ignoring a long list of comedians that got their start due to the segment. (Chevy Chase, Dennis Miller, Norm McDonald, Dan Aykroyd, etc.) And I'm not sure what to tell you about Tina, this was the thing that made her popular and got her enough attention to get Mean Girls and 30 Rock. The difference between being only a writer and a cast member is drastic. You don't see any good movies starring Fred Wolf, Dennis MacNicholas, Adam McKay, Paula Pell, or Colin Jost do you? They're forever stuck behind the camera.
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@mrjimmyjames How am I supposed to refer to it? It's called weekend update! I ve been watching the show for the past 8 years ( I am just 22 ). I don't believe Tina Fey became famous from that, yes. I believe she's who she is cause she is an excellent comedy writer/actress. Plus, I don't like weekend update with seth meyers cause I don't like him. Is it THAT hard to believe? Also Tina Fey didn't appear on the show before because she didn't want to. She was one of the writers and first made her acting debut in the show.
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Are you very familiar with the show? I say that because you keep referring to it as Weekend Updates. It is the most successful sketch in the show's history and started on day one (38 yrs). You might want to go back at least 13 years. No, WU is what made Tina and Seth successful. Fallon and Amy got a signifcant boost as well. Seth was a largely unsuccessful cast member before and Tina didn't appear on the show at all.
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Weekend Update needs to return to the two co-anchor style, I don't think it was coincidence that enjoyed WU more than I did all season when Amy showed up during the finale.
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You also would have liked it better with just Amy, I suspect. I know I would have.

Looking at who's left, I can't see even one WU host, much less two. Taran Killam comes closest but I hope he doesn't get it. Maybe they can get John Oliver.
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I've heard the most likely candidate is John Mulaney.
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Yeah, it's only been around 38 years, what's that in the scheme of things? Weekend Update allows the players to rest up between acts, and allows direction changes and big set and costume elements to come up next. It's not likely to go anywhere. I hope WU gets a new anchor that's a writer but not the head writer, and maybe go back to the 2-manned style that worked so well for so many.
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I think you summed it up best. I agree.
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I don't watch late night shows besides The Daily Show unless I really love the guests. I find the best interviews come from certain host/celebrity parings. Usually the more familiar the guests are with the host the funnier the interview like Kristen Bell on Kimmel or Joel McHale with Ferguson. These ancient hosts like Letterman and Leno make me want to pull all my hair out because they really aren't funny anymore and they seem to have lost touch with what people want to see
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Try Kristen Bell with Ferguson. Awesome.
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Yeah totally Kristen is just plain awesome wherever she goes!
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I know it wouldn't happen, but I would not be pissed if they had Stefon show up........... :)
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It's sad that people still refuse to recognize Craig Ferguson as the best late night host on current television. His attempt to 'deconstruct the late night genre' has made late night TV watchable again. I thought Fallon was and is a disaster as a late night host (it's excruciating to watch his monologue). He brought nothing new to the table and Seth Meyers won't be any different (who watches weekend update for Seth Meyers? We watch it for everyone else).
Being a successful late night host means establishing a rapport with the audience. Ferguson could do an entire show just talking to the audience and keep them entertained, without a band, without Geoff Peterson (a welcome addition btw), without any guests! Conan & Letterman are solid late night hosts, but they both refuse to leave their comfort zones, resulting in absolute monotony in their respective shows. And as for Leno, he just isn't that funny anymore. I'm pretty sure it's impossible for him to get through a show without cue cards. Meyers is a safe and unimpressive choice for NBC Late Night. Come to think of it, that could be NBC's new slogan - Safe & Unimpressive!
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Totally true, right on the money.

And Ferguson can also do an entertaining and thoughtful show without an audience too with just a single guest the entire show, he had a few serious episodes that reminded me of Tom Snyder's work from back in the day. Even won a Peabody for his interview with Desmond Tutu.

Leno is funny, but for some reason NOT ON HIS OWN SHOW. He's got a chip on his shoulder or something, he's still a funny, smart guy, but it never comes through when its his name on the marquee. He's a symbol of what's wrong, the format changes the host, and Craig Ferguson doesn't get sucked into that.
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Well said, even though I really like Jimmy Fallon. Saw him live and the guy was just hilarious. That said, I agree about Craig Ferguson! His monologue feels personal and original, it's always funny... and it runs throughout half of the show. Oh and there's always the Awkward silence during his guest interview
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I think Craig is pretty great! But I also like Seth quite a bit.
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Ferguson > Fallon
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Ferguson > Everyone.
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Conan > Everyone
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My point is we can speculate all day long about what Seth brings to the table, but it's a safe bet it won't be anything groundbreaking. Television is constantly evolving & unpredictability is what gets people talking. I just don't see him hosting anything more than another scripted show with the same format. There are so many brilliant comedians (men & women) out there who could have been considered. It just doesn't look like a lot of thought was put into the process. Imagine if someone like Louis CK was in contention - mind blown!
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"Fallon is way too nice"

You mean a complete suck up. Possibly better at it than Jay. Don't get me wrong, I like Jimmy and he's funny but it's hard to believe that anything that comes out his mouth anymore is how he really feels.
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Sports yes. Politics no. Nothing alienates and polarizes the audience faster than this. All it does is dumb down the audience. People tend to base their political views on reactions (that they feel) as opposed to facts, logic, and reason. Too often I've had liberals tell me that they hate Leno b/c he's conservative or had conservatives tell me they hate Letterman, SNL, Stewart, or Fallon simply b/c they assume they're liberal. Enough. Even more insane is the conservatives that complained that Leno's dismissal was a conservative witchhunt (i don't believe he is a conservative). People simply do not have the ability to separate their biases from the judgement of whether a host is funny or not.
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Let's be honest. Seth isn't that type of guy. He's not going to reinvent late night television. His solid but safe stint on WU makes it obvious. He's not a boundary pusher. He's going to follow what Fallon laid down. Fallon wasn't groundbreaking. (His two predecessors were) He simply was great at following industry trends (viral videos). Half the time he's running what looks to be more of a game show than a late night talk show. A solid business plan well executed. Conan and Letterman; they completely reinvented the wheel. I think you could make a solid argument Ferguson has as well.
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British late night shows always seem so fun and interesting to watch. I would love to see some inspiration from them.
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I totally agree
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It's sad that Leno is so unfunny that he has to outsource his comedic segments to other comedians.
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And Leno himself is still funny and sharp outside his show. He let the format beat him.
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And they aren't particularly funny either.
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It's unception.
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yeah you're not quite an authority with "at least two" of each show under your belt. and as others have said worrying about "going viral" is absurd. crap like the explosion of harlem shake videos wherever that came from is the most obnoxious I can think of any late night show being ever. while downtown sixby and movie: the movie are obvious successes COUNTLESS previous and followup bits failed and will fail.

like any part of the show that isn't a tired old monologue or interview, jaywalking or the like is a must keep if they find their niche in doing so. kimmel has cousin sal and leno has photobooth and jaywalking whihc *can* be funny. and fortunately seth is fresh enough that he probably wouldn't be too inclined to let a stale one continue like leno tends to do with the uninspired comedians on the street deals.

i'm not someone who will ever sit through an entire episode unless completely out of my regular shows to watch which maybe happens during the summer. i will however watch most any out of the ordinary clip like celebs playing games on fallon or jaywalking or headlines via hulu if the mood strikes. and will occasionally choose an interview if it's the likes of tina fey who's funny and gorgeous or someone who work i'm always happy with like guy ritchie or tarentino. or particularly colorful like chris rock.

the late night formula cannot be altered to a great degree, the best seth can hope for is success similar to that of kimmel, fallon and conan as far as the younger viewer goes.
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You're confusing me. You don't think viral is a good idea, but the clips are watch you watch? That's what I'm advocating for. And I've watched a lot of late night TV, I just made it a point to watch at least two episodes of last week so I could be fresh on the content.
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I watch clips regardless of length. be it from one commercial break to another or just a short sketch. your advocating for "internet friendly" clips in my mind implied something along the lines of SNL's digital shorts as opposed to just content excised from the show regardless of length.

like I said i will watch an entire episode if desperate enough, it's just that hulu has made it easier to pick and choose and often allows for watching bits of more than one late show.
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Well we know Myers won't be anywhere as active in sketches as Fallon and Conan were. Maybe he'll surprise us but I definitely see a huge change in how Late Night is done. Kill monologues I say since they're just not funny. Late Night has been known for really wacky and to a degree, surreal sketches at time. Just don't see Myers doing that. And for Fallon it'll for sure be watered down but with Lorne Michaels still with him I have some hope.
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You didn't mention the best interviewer in late night, Stephen Colbert. A lot of it comes from his faux antagonist egomaniac role, but the man is also the sharpest and most aware interviewer in any show right now. He constantly surprises guests with his knowledge, especially with his apparently near photographic memory for poetry, song standards, creeds, historical texts and inexhaustible nerd knowledge. He turns the guest's statements back on them and unlike Stewart, it doesn't matter who the guest is, I want to watch the interview. His one-man show would be almost impossible for Meyers to replicate but he can take alot from his example. Mainly- BE ENGAGED! The guests on the one-hour shows are the workman sections... you can practically see the autopilot switch turn on with Leno and Letterman as they let the guest go throught the almost same interview, with the same anecdotes, they've done on the other shows.
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I think Colbert and Stewart are DRAMATICALLY better than everyone else. I tried to keep them out of the convo as much as possible since they're working on a different type of show. I'd love for Seth to borrow from them more, but don't know that he will.
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Very true. You know it's brilliant from the very moment he demands a round of applause for himself (going into the interview) as opposed to for the guest. It's great you never quite know where he's going with it and he jumps in and out of character throughout.
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yes, mrjimmyjames, it is.
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Ferguson is the only one worth watching. While he does fall flat he is often laugh out loud funny, which is rare these days. It helps that when it comes down to it hes probably the smartest of the bunch and far more relatable to than the rest of the rich old white guy crowd. His interviews with Mandela and last nights Stephen Fry show that he can do the 'heavy' stuff as well.
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Ferguson is at his best when Kristen Bell is on.
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To be fair, with guests like Stephen Fry it is not possible to be boring even if you try which admittedly, Craig doesn't.
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I love that about his show hes not afraid not to be perfect .Which most people can relate to plus when its time be serious he steps up
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If you want a better talk show experience then check out the Graham Norton show on the BBC
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DON'T let unfunny doppelganger brother Josh show up.
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I'm sure Seth will do a Weekend Update type monologue, since that's what he's good at. I'd love to see him do more in-depth interviews. My favorite late night talk show was Later with Bob Costas. He had a single guest for an intense, half-hour interview. They didn't all fly, but when the guest was good the show was fascinating. I still remember his interview with Ken Burns about The Civil War. Great television.

I like to see guests do something other than sitting on the couch. And I think a lot of actors would prefer taking on a roll to talking about themselves. Like Harrison Ford not answering Star Wars questions from the audience on Kimmel. Fallon playing games with the guests is fun, but I don't think that would quite work for Seth. Maybe some variation of that.
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seth could play "truth or dare"
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Gee, Cory, I wonder if you're a Kimmel fan? Anyway, I think Meyers should just do what he does best, without worrying about "going viral" or any kind of target audience (like Fallon tries too hard to do). I'd say if I was Seth, I'd try my hardest to make it as least "hacky" as you can and really focus on humorous interactions with people/ characters(something Conan often did on his original "Late Night" show and what Meyers did on Weekend Update.)
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Staff
I do enjoy JKL the best of the major traditional talk shows. Best balance of host, content, interviews, pre-tapes, etc.
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Maybe this is completely stupid, but would it be wrong to let/have the guests to a monologue bit on their own? Maybe a once weekly thing, giving, say, a drama star a chance to try out the monologue thing, and then Meyers and the star can sit down and laugh about how poorly that went or Meyers can give up his seat and let the star handle it for the rest of the night.
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From the network's perspective, the key question is "what will cause the largest number of people to sit and watch the commercials while we air this". Michaels knows this fully well, so that's the direction he'll steer the show. Internet-ready clips that people only see on the Internet might not be the way to achieve this goal.

Leno has the highest ratings because his show appeals to old people who stay with the show out of intertia; Letterman, Conan, and Fallon have each done a good job, following the Tonight Show, of creating their own audience out of younger people (And Kimmel had to build his from scratch... his audience had to sit through Nightline to get to him for a LONG time, and those shows' audiences don't overlap very much.)

I think the real reason that interviews aren't as interesting nowadays is that they're rushed. There used to be a LOT less commercials when Johnny was King, so they had more than 3 minutes to talk.

I like Craig Ferguson's interview style the best. He takes the interview in unexpected directions. It's true that sometimes the guests can't or won't follow, which leads to awkward silence, but I'd still rather hear what Craig can get out of a guest than any of the other late-night hosts can, which is usually highly predictable and boils down to "my new book/movie/TV show is great, and it was great working with the great editor/writers/cast/crew/director, just great!"
More+
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good points. this is broadcast television the networks could give a shit what "goes viral" as they're not making a cent unless it's via hulu.
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Staff
If you think that networks don't care about the internet, you don't quite understand television in 2013. Leno might have the best ratings now, but they're declining and he--and his audience--are on the proverbial way out. If you want to have late night talk shows in 2013 that appeal to contemporary 25 year olds (like me), don't you think you need to care about the internet?
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ONLY if your Internet interest leads you to watch the show live. If your interest in the show begins and ends on those parts that go viral on the Internet, you aren't anything to the TV network. Now, if you watch on the Internet by going through the network's portal, then they can at least capture a little ad revenue from serving the show up to you. So, the network should pay the most attention to people who watch the show when it's being broadcast, a little bit of attention to people who watch via the network's portal, and none at all to people who only watch clips hosted on someone else's server (or bitTorrent)

You question is kind of like asking "don't you think you buggy-whip manufacturers should be paying attention to automobile drivers like me?" about 110 years ago. Yes, the culture is changing, but the networks are better off focusing on their remaining clients rather than trying to interest people who flatly aren't interested in the product as offered.
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