Posts Tagged ‘chat show’

The one lesson I learned that The Nightly Show needs to understand

Monday, March 13th, 2017

After the first year of hosting my daily chat show at the Edinburgh Fringe (which is still running thirteen years later), Brian Luff gave me one of the best pieces of advice I have had in my broadcast career. It went something like this:

“I listened to the Fringe podcasts, but now I’ve met you I have to ask… why is the ‘you’ that I see in front of me not in the podcast? I want to spend time with that person.”

You can have the latest names, the greatest guests, and the biggest world-changing ideas, but these will only get people to engage with a show once. If they are going to engage a second time, or become regular viewers, they will only come back if there is something consistent that they want to spend time with. I took Brian’s advice, and came up with a rule that I have relied on ever since…

People come once for a guest, but they stay for the host.

Tonight, ITV will launch the third version of ’The Nightly Show’. The first version launched two weeks ago with David Walliams hosting. The second version launched next week with John Bishop. Tonight’s version belongs to Davina McCall. Next week will be the fourth version with Dermot O’Leary.

There is nothing consistent week to week. The second a viewer starts to get comfortable with a host’s style and decides that they’re happy to spend time with them late at night, the host changes. You can’t start building up a reputation for guests, for games, or for viral videos until the foundation is in place. Choose a host and give them a long run to build a relationship with the audience.

That’s why the US late-night shows are as powerful as they are. Every host has been given the time to settle in to find their own footing and their own audience. Stephen Colbert has taken close to a year to understand ’The Late Show’, Trevor Noah is slowly moving out from under the shadow of Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’, James Cordon’s routine has evolved over time on ‘Late-Late‘…

I don’t buy the argument that ITV can’t do a daily chat show, but it needs to understand the unique demands of the format does not always line up with the ‘celebrity guest’ culture that has developed in the UK scene over the last two decades. Find a host, find a team, and let them work through the problems for at least a six-month run.

And if you need proof that a long-term commitment will slowly grow into a daily success story… look at ‘The One Show’.

All that’s missing Is the network deal

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

One of the fun things about the internet is how pictures can surface months after the event. That could be as it takes forever to be uploaded, or the meta-data isn’t added so you can’t search for it or have it show up in a news feed, or the moment when it was mentioned was missed.

So for whatever reasons it took Amanda to wait this long, here’s a pic from the very shot short lived SXSW Social Media Clubhouse Chat Show, with Brian Solis on the sofa as our guest.

Social Media Clubhouse

Move Over Conan O’Brien, Terry Wogan Just Beat You

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Remember all the talk of what would Conan O’Brien do after he left The Tonight Show? And many in Silicon Valley were looking to him to take up the mantle of the one and only true online talk show that matter?

Well, Coco, you missed your window.

This weekend saw a rather interesting experiment by the BBC. Sure it was all dressed up as a new show, and an exciting format that’s a little bit different, but a new show that embraced multiple online media elements, with enough familiarity to not scare away an existing audience? A host with a big desk, a chair for his announcer, a house band, visiting star guests and live music from the musicians of the day?

What’s not to love about “Weekend Wogan?”


All the elements are there on stage, and at a quick glance it’s set up like every other standard talk show with a touch of variety that you’d come to expect. All that was missing was a curtain to do some stand-up in front of… but with a recent knee operation, our host was back to the desk as quickly as his walking stick would allow.

But it’s the move of labelling it as a “radio” show that intrigues me. Because it’s not just a radio show. There’s the live audience element, making this feel more like a production to be seen… there’s the edited podcast that boils it down to a thirty minute commute length for people to download as a separate show; there are online video clips with some of the guests; and then the whole thing is available on the BBC iPlayer as a one hour video show to watch on demand.

Sure sounds like a 21st century online talk show to me.

Of course Wogan has one advantage that O’Brien doesn’t have… the BBC Licence Fee, effectively charging £12 per month to anyone in the UK who can pick up a TV signal, means that there is no reliance on sponsors to fund Wogan’s show. And I’m sure at this point people will be commenting about how evil the licence fee is.

I’m actually for the licence fee, for shows and experiments with new media such as Weekend Wogan. You could argue the BBC is using its power and reach to create a new market (something that’s right on the edge of the Charter); on the flip side you could easily say that without the proof that this works, there will be no market for others (such as Sky, STV or The Guardian) to exploit.

Weekend Wogan from a technical viewpoint is a success. Now give it a few months to settle down and find its own voice, and we’ll have a critical success as well.