Whither the Late Night News?

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Interesting that the day after he announced his retirement, the Associated Press prepared a list of nine “possible successors” for his Late Show. (It ran in the Hartford Courant and many other papers.) The next day, CBS announced a successor, and it wasn’t any of those nine.

It was Stephen Colbert of course, whose Comedy Central news-satirist colleague Jon Stewart had made the AP list. Before Stewart took over The Daily Show, he indeed had his own talk show (syndicated by MTV) and I remember him doing a bang-up job subbing for Tom Snyder, who had the Tomorrow Show when Letterman had Late Night on NBC.

Rachel Maddow was one of the few commentators to speculate that Colbert—even though he won’t be doing the new show as the same Conservative character he’s developed on Comedy Central—might bring some needed political commentary to late night talk shows. That actually seems to already be happening with Seth Meyers, who, on one of his earliest episodes of Late Night, brought on New Yorker David Remnick to talk about the situation in Crimea. Jimmy Fallon is doing a less newsy monologue than Jay Leno did, but Meyers is doing more of one, and going deeper into current events than Leno ever did. On other networks, Craig Ferguson certainly has opinions on world events. But more would be great. Otherwise, someone might have to revive Nightline.

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