Category Archives: talk show

Alec Baldwin’s MSNBC Show Debuts

The new MSNBC Friday night interview show, Up Late with Alex Baldwin, debuted in early October. I missed the premiere, but fortunately MSNBC has offered it a great deal of the content online for folks like myself.

Judging by the most recent episode, with 2001: A Space Odyssey stars, Gary Lockwood and Keir Dullea (discussing the film classic’s long-term cultural influence),  Baldwin is going to book some obscure guests. That’s a trend I hope continues. Past guests support my impression considering that Debra Winger was the focus of one episode.

Larry King Joins Hulu

So it would appear that Larry King has come back to the interview show format. He will be providing four shows a week (Monday-Thursday) for Hulu. And King is as wacky as ever with the new show, Larry King Now.

Only King would say (discussing the prospect of being brought back from death in a new body): “What if you had Alzheimer’s?” and then laugh.

Man, imagine what it would be like if he interviewed Robert Blake.

Jeremy Newberger on Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie

When I found out that the folks over at Ironbound Films had made Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie, a documentary about one of the most unique television hosts from the 1980s, I was intrigued. Then when I learned the documentary was going to have its world premiere this month at the Tribeca Film Festival, I was fortunate enough to email interview one of the three creative forces (and directors) from Ironbound, Jeremy Newberger.

Tim O’Shea: Was it hard to track down folks that had worked on the production of his show, or are many of them still active in the industry today?

Jeremy Newberger: Finding the producers of “The Morton Downey Jr. Show” was easy. Getting them to overlook twenty years of repressed rage and therapy bills was a little trickier. Most of them are still in production on everything from theSPEED Network to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Show creator Bob Pittman is now CEO of a little company called Clear Channel.

Continue reading Jeremy Newberger on Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie

Conan O’Brien Visits NBC’s Jimmy Fallon

Article first published as Conan O’Brien Visits NBC’s Jimmy Fallon on Technorati.

Wednesday night viewers of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon were witness to the brief return of Conan O’Brien to NBC. O’Brien, temporarily back in New York, is prepping for a week-long run of his TBS show at the Beacon Theater, starting on October 31.

While barely two minutes in length, the short visit made for a great TV moment, along the lines of Paul Newman’s “Where the hell are the singing cats?” bit (shown in this YouTube clip at the 6:55 mark) from David Letterman’s first CBS show back in 1993. Wednesday night’s Conan appearance clearly took the audience by surprise. But he and Fallon were savvy enough to interact for so brief a time, it did not become awkward for the audience.

The visit ended with Conan retrieving Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, from behind one of Jimmy’s sofa cushions. Judging by the comments section at the TeamCoco blog many Conan fans hope that this is a sign that Triumph might be returning to the show’s comedic team. (Oddly enough, TeamCoco fans seemed divided on the fact that Conan had grown a beard again while on vacation).

When Conan left NBC in early 2010, NBC forbid Conan from using certain characters (The Masturbating Bear, for example) in his post-NBC creative pursuits, as the network claimed intellectual ownership of characters and sketches developed as part of the show. In terms of intellectual property, however, there is some question if NBC actually owned Triumph, given that the character was developed by Robert Smigel.

Back when I saw Conan in the final Atlanta stop of his 2010 Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour, I was surprised to see a taped Triumph bit, as well as a Walker, Texas Ranger clip montage (though the Lever was renamed the Chuck Norris, Rural Policeman Handle). Of course, this was not on television. But I still hold out hope (along with many other Conan fans) that the physical retrieval of Triumph might be a precursor to his comedic return on Conan. Time will tell.

Documentary on the Horizon: Évocateur

Thanks to a tip from Whitney Matheson’s Pop Candy today, I learned about Ironbound Films‘ upcoming documentary regarding  (the late) Morton Downey Jr., Évocateur.

Ironbound describes itself as “Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger are Ironbound Films. Headquartered in an old inn on the Hudson River opposite West Point, Ironbound crafts video for theaters, television, museums, and the web.”

Here’s a preview:

The blog, Nothing But the Doc, noted that the project “will feature interviews with Sally Jesse Raphael, Chris Elliott, Al Sharpton and Pat Buchanan”. Some sites say it will be ready in 2011, others say 2012. Either way, given how much Downey fascinated me many years ago, I would be curious to hear the perspective from his former friends and associates.

Stephen Battaglio on David Susskind Biography

David Susskind: A Televised Life

Very rarely a great interview opportunity lands in my comments section. Such was the case when Stephen Battaglio, author of David Susskind: A Televised Life, posted a comment in a recent Susskind post of mine. From there, I contacted Battaglio and he agreed to do an email interview about  the book (here’s its official description): “David Susskind was the first TV producer to become a TV star. His freewheeling discussion program, Open End, later known as The David Susskind Show, brought the turbulent issues of the 1960s and the wild and often wacky social trends of the 1970s into the nation’s living rooms at a time when viewing choices were scant. Susskind grilled everyone from a Mafia hit man to transsexuals to a famously hilarious Mel Brooks. His legendary interview with Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War inflamed both the political and media establishments and would have made his name if nothing else did … David Susskind: A Televised Life is as much a chronicle of a glamorous time in the entertainment industry as it is a biography of one of its most colorful, important and influential players.” My thanks to Battaglio for an immensely enjoyable and insightful discussion about Susskind.

Tim O’Shea: This book grew out of a piece you wrote for the NY Times back in 2001, what motivated you to grow it into a book?

Stephen Battaglio: I had wanted to write a book about the history of television. When I researched the story about Susskind, I realized that he was a great vehicle to tell the story of the medium in its early years. What I didn’t realize until I researched the book, was that his personal story was so dramatic. I think it will surprise readers who thought they knew him.

Continue reading Stephen Battaglio on David Susskind Biography

Worth Watching: Tom Hanks on Jimmy Kimmel

I rarely praise Jimmy Kimmel on this blog. Partially it’s due to a bias I formed against Kimmel from his days on Comedy Central’s The Man Show. But I really started warming up to Kimmel when he supremely zinged Jay Leno in last year’s NBC Late Night Schedule Waffling. So after mocking the Oscars last night, I stuck around to watch Jimmy Kimmel Live‘s Oscar late night show edition. And boy am I glad I did. Kimmel scored everyone’s dream late night guest, Tom Hanks. As usual, Hanks delivered. Be sure to stick around to the end for a surprise cameo.

I really hope “Don’t be a hooch!” becomes a popular phrase.