The Late Late Show

The Late Late Show Information

The Late Late Show is an American late-night television talk and variety show on CBS. It first aired in January 1995, with host Tom Snyder. In its current incarnation it has been hosted by Craig Ferguson since January 2005. It is produced by Worldwide Pants Incorporated, the production company owned by the host of the show that immediately precedes it. Late Show with David Letterman. It originates from CBS Television City (in a studio immediately above the Bob Barker Studio) and is shot in High Definition, as of August 31, 2009. The program dates to 1995, and has had three permanent hosts.

The show differs from most of the other extant late-night talk shows in that it has never used a house band nor an in-studio announcer.

Occasionally, the show is split into 15- and 45-minute segments when CBS airs a daily late night highlight show for either The Masters, other PGA Tour events with rights owned by CBS, or tennis' U.S. Open. The show then has a monologue to start, followed by sports highlights, and then the guest segments. Since mid-2007, however, the highlights show has aired first, followed by the full hour of The Late Late Show.


Host From To Number
of Shows
Date Age Date Age
Tom Snyder January 9, 1995 58 March 26, 1999 62 777
Craig Kilborn March 29, 1999 36 August 27, 2004 42 1190
Craig Ferguson January 3, 2005 42 present t.b.d.


Tom Snyder (1995–1999)

Tom Snyder hosted the program from its inception in January 1995 until March 1999. The choice of Snyder as host was apparently made by David Letterman, whose contract with CBS gave him the power to produce the show in the timeslot immediately after his own program; previously the slot had been taken up by repeats of Crimetime After Primetime.

Letterman and Snyder had a long history together: a 1978 Tomorrow episode hosted by Snyder was almost exclusively devoted to a long interview with up-and-coming new comedy talents Letterman, Billy Crystal and Merrill Markoe. And in 1982, when Tomorrow was canceled by NBC, Letterman took over Snyder's time slot with his own NBC show Late Night with David Letterman.

Snyder's show featured a mix of celebrities, politicians and other newsmakers, but was otherwise quite unlike the program hosted by Letterman. Snyder was a former newsman, not a comedian, and his show featured an intimate interview format with no studio audience present, similar to his old Tomorrow show of the 1970s, or to Charlie Rose show and Later, which had abandoned the format the previous year. Though the show lacked a studio audience, Snyder still frequently gave extended conversational monologues, many of which contained jokes that prompted audible laughter from the off-camera production staff. Throughout most of the show's run, it was also simulcast over some CBS Radio stations, and Snyder accepted calls from viewers/listeners somewhat in the manner of Larry King.

Occasionally, the show featured guest hosts such as Jon Stewart or Janeane Garofalo during weeks when Snyder was off.

Jazz musician David Sanborn composed the theme music and several other songs featured on the show. Sanborn had previously been a guest saxophonist in The World's Most Dangerous Band during Late Night with David Letterman. Unlike other late-night shows, The Late Late Show did not have a house band (a tradition that carried on to its successors) or any announcer, except for the last episode, when Snyder allowed one of his staff members to announce an introduction.

Snyder was originally scheduled to broadcast his last Late Late Show on March 19, 1999. However, his replacement Craig Kilborn was still working out the kinks in the new show's format, so the 62-year-old Snyder agreed to "help out the new guy" by filling in for another week.

Craig Kilborn (1999–2004)

When Snyder announced he was leaving, the show was reformatted to resemble Letterman and other major late-night talk programs. Craig Kilborn took over in March 1999, having left The Daily Show to become the new Late Late Show host.

When Kilborn was on the show, it began with an image of a full moon wavering behind gray stratus clouds, to the tuning of an orchestra, while the announcer"?the recorded, modulated voice of Kilborn himself"?blurted out, "From the gorgeous, gorgeous Hollywood Hills in sunny California, it's your Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. Tonight [...]", and then the guests were announced, backed by the show's theme song, composed by Neil Finn. Then Kilborn was presented, "Ladies and gentlemen, *pause* Mister Craig Kilborn", with the 1970s disco band Wild Cherry song "Play That Funky Music".

After Kilborn's stand-up monologue, he walked to his "Bavarian oak desk" while Finn's theme song continued playing with the chorus "The Late Late Show is starting. The Late Late Show is starting now." The "Desk Chat" was said to be Craig's favorite part of the show.

During later seasons, the opening consisted of shots of various Los Angeles hotspots accompanied by a new theme song performed and written by Chris Isaak. For this new theme song, Kilborn would be played to the desk with a chorus of "The Late Late Show is starting".

Segments included:

  • In the News: A news segment, whose theme song was Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger", where Kilborn would provide a humorous overview of the day's events. It was briefly called "The World of Whimsy" following the September 11th attacks. The segment also included characters such as the hoary and cherubic "Ewok Guy" or the rapping "PG&E" Lady.
  • What Up?: A Friday segment where Kilborn and three other panelists discussed and joked about the news.
  • To Blank with Love: Kilborn dedicated verses to different people and things
  • Five Questions: Kilborn asked a geography question, a Match Game-style "blank" question where the guest had to fill a blank with a word related to the guest, a "Now think of other one" question in which the guest had to guess what Kilborn had in mind. This segment was a holdover from Kilborn's previous job as the host of The Daily Show.
  • Tuesdays with Buddy: Featuring Buddy Hackett
  • Yambo: An elimination game between two guests. Kilborn would slowly walk in a circle around the two celebrity guess and randomly yell questions at them. A correct answer within three seconds earned them a point; three points won a game. Failure to answer or a wrong answer earned a strike; three strikes resulted in the opponent winning.
  • The Weather with Petra Nemcova: Craig and Goldy would sometimes do a weather report with model Petra N"?mcová. The theme song was: "Petra, Petra tell us the weather, Tell us the weather to make us feel better. Petra, Petra, tell us whether we need to bring a jacket, or not."
Kilborn left the program on August 27, 2004, following negotiations which ended when he opted not to renew his contract. On a June 2010 interview, promoting his new show The Kilborn File, Kilborn stated that he left late night television due to him thinking that the late night timeslot was "crowded" and that he wanted to be part of "the first comedy show at dinner time".

Craig Kilborn promised his fans that if the Minnesota Timberwolves, his favorite NBA team, ever win the NBA championship, he will return for one guest host episode.


Subsequent new shows featured guest hosts, culminating in week-long showcases for four finalists: Craig Ferguson, D. L. Hughley, Damien Fahey, and Michael Ian Black. It was announced on December 7, 2004 that Ferguson, a Scottish comedian best known from his role as Mr. Wick on The Drew Carey Show, was to become Kilborn's permanent replacement. David Letterman later said he made the selection based on the recommendation of Peter Lassally.

Craig Ferguson (2005–present)

See The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson for more information

Under Craig Ferguson's tenure as host, the show starts with a cold open, followed by opening credits and a commercial break. A loose comic monologue then follows, consistently including a greeting ("Welcome to Los Angeles, California, welcome to the Late Late Show, I am your host, TV's Craig Ferguson"} and the proclamation that "It's a great day for America, everybody!" Since 2010 the monologue also includes banter with Geoff Peterson, his "robot skeleton sidekick"; after another commercial break, the banter continues with Ferguson sitting behind a desk. He usually reads and responds to viewer e-mail and (since February 2010) Tweets; during this segment he occasionally will have a guest star with him. He calls his Twitter followers his "robot skeleton army."

Generally one or two celebrities are interviewed; Ferguson starts each by dramatically ripping up note cards written for the interview, "signalling to the audience, and to the guest, that this conversation need not be rigidly managed." At the end of an interview, Ferguson usually asks his guest to engage in one of various rituals; options in the past have included "Awkward Pause", "Mouth Organ", "Guess What the Queen is Thinking", and the "Big Cash Prize."

Sometimes the show features a stand-up comedian or a musical guest, the latter of which is typically pre-taped.

Ferguson incorporates various running gags. Early examples include themed weeks such as "Crab Week", "Magic Week" and "Shark Week", a "photo of Paul McCartney" joke (wherein Ferguson will call for a photo of McCartney, which is actually a photo of actress Angela Lansbury and vice versa); the show often uses variations of this gag featuring other pairs of look-alike celebrities, such as Cher being shown as Marilyn Manson.

The show ends with "What Did We Learn on the Show Tonight, Craig?", a segment that starts with an animation of a kitten and in which Ferguson "removes his tie, puts his feet on his desk, and summarizes the preceding hour of TV."

Ferguson's tenure included the show's first high definition broadcast, on August 31, 2009. In March 2010, the Late Late Show won the Peabody Award for Excellence in Television for its "Evening with Archbishop Desmond Tutu" episode. According to the Peabody Board, "the Scottish-born Ferguson has made late-night television safe again for ideas."

In April 2012, CBS announced that they had reached an agreement with Ferguson to extend his contract through 2014. As part of the deal, the network began co-producing the show for the first time in Late, Late Show history.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Late_Late_Show_%28CBS_TV_series%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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