Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Late Night Host Main Event!! Rumble Under the Stars!!

It's just never been the same since Johnny left. Oh Johnny how we miss you. The whole late night dog and pony show was created by Johnny Carson, and no one has ever been able to fill his shoes. I remember the last few years of The Tonight Show well, and Joan Rivers was a much better guest host then Jay, but I guess it was still too 1950's then to have a permanent female host. Jay couldn't even hold a candle to Johnny, no one could.

It's a testament to Johnny that he's the only host I've ever seen to HAVE guest host.... The Tonight Show was a machine that had to go on with or without its regular host. In it's day if you were going to become someone you had to do The Tonight Show. Johnny Carson would make or break you. Today if a host needs to be away they just play reruns. Could you imagine Conan guest hosting Letterman?? LOL Think not. I think most host today would be afraid to have a guest host, what if they got better ratings? But Johnny never had to worry about that, no one was going to TAKE the reigns until he GAVE them up.

So look what we have today, Jay and Conan drama. Letterman and his Heir apparent Craig Ferguson. Conan now on TBS with George Lopez. Then there's the other players like Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon,Jon Stewart, and Carson Daly. All doing what only Johnny Carson used to do. None with his power, but Jay and Letterman coming out on top of the heap.

I really don't have much love for Jay Leno, you can't hardly make me watch his show. I never liked him even when he guest hosted the Tonight Show, just can't watch his show at all. I liked Conan back in the day ok, when he still had Andy on the show, I found it really, really stupid, but I could watch it. For most of my adult life I really enjoyed David Letterman. However I've started to not enjoy his show in the last few years. I don't know if I've gotten older or he has, but he just doesn't entertain me quite like he used too.

Now George Lopez I've always enjoyed, but like most late show host he did great when he was a comic and had all year to write one hour worth of material. But now having to do 15 minutes a night, 5 days a week, even with writers...Well, he has his moments, but he suffers out there. I do like his interviews, but he seems a little awkward with his guest still. I do like his set, and he draws good guest and good acts.

Conan, well, he's Conan. I have watched his new show, and it's pretty good. I will say TBS has really opened up the purse strings on Conan and Lopez tonight. They have the best sets of all the Hosts, and really do draw some good guest. TBS, owned by Warner Bros. has a lot to do with that I'm sure. On his first show back on later night, over on TBS, he did play with the band (guest band) and he ROCKED. He plays a really good guitar and can sing..who knew? Conan and Lopez seem to be seeing (at least to the public) their two hour block as a late night "power hour". They talk about each other and promote each other. Even do bits together. That's pretty cool. Lopez seems a little star stuck by Conan really, like he knows he's the new guy. But I think it comes off pretty well.

Now my man Craig Ferguson, now HE'S the man. I really do think he's the best of the lot. His monologue isn't just jokes, it's a whole physical/mental/silly comedy act, with a little naughty dirty edge. He ad libs everything, doesn't seem to believe in Q cards or scripting anything. His guest often complain because he rips up the "guest cards" and doesn't follow any plan on the interviews. He flies totally by the seat of his pants and it shows. You can even tell his monologue isn't scripted, he just goes out with a general idea and runs with it. He brings out he dirty worst in his guest. I recently say an actress on his show and she was pretty naughty and a little slutty on his show. The next night she was on Lopez and seemed like a innocent little church girl. Almost seemed like a different actress, she even acted and talked different. It was kind of weird. He cusses like crazy (it's bleeped of course) and so do his guest. His show is just down right real and funny. I think we see the real people on his show. He brings out the real in people....LOL

Of interest, Craig seem heir apparent to take over The Late Show when Dave turns in his desk. Most of the other shows don't have someone working in the wings for the spot. And you got to admit I'm not sure Dave has that many seasons left. He seems to be winding down.

John Stewart is considered a late night host, but for whatever reason I don't really see his show like the others. It's more a skit then a show to me. But he has a good following and I do enjoy him when I watch. He kind of breaks the mold, his show to me is more like a comedy news shows. It's a little TOO political/news orientated to classify as a true late night show to me. But he's is funny!

So, who are the top dogs? Lets go to the numbers...

Currently Dave and Jay have been duking it out, pretty much running neck and neck since he's been back. But Jay has been dropping viewers lately and for the first time at the end of October Dave beat him. Of the "after" shows Craig really comes out on top, beating or tying his competition most of the time. Overall his 1.8 mil total viewers edge out all others, but that isn't always the "target" ages advertisers want. Be even there he pretty much ties it up. Jon Stewart also fits in this mix viewer wise, falling just a tad short. Colbert trails everyone with about 1.2 mil viewers.

Lopez is trailing the established shows, but is still doing well. His show has brought much needed life into TBS's late night viewership. And with him and Conan together it's going to be something for the others to contend with. The landscape of late night is changing with Comedy Central and now TBS in the fray.

Mostly likely the changes will harm Dave the most, Letterman views have a better chance of switching to Conan's show the Leno views do, Dave and Conan have more in common. But you never really know, sometimes there is just no accounting for taste! LOL

Leno's Tonight Show
Dave's Late Show
Craig's Late Late Show
Lopez Tonight
Jimmy Kimmel
Jimmy Fallon
Last Call with Carson Daly
Jon Stewart's Daily Show

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