EXCLUSIVE: The BBC is eyeing a move into the late-night comedy chat-show arena with Tonight With…
The British public broadcaster is developing the format, which will see celebrities invited to take a “sideways swipe” at the big issues facing Britain today. Topical given what’s been going on with Brexit this week.
Deadline understands that the BBC is piloting the project with a recording set to take place next week at the Hospital Club in London. The BBC has said that the show is the “first of its kind on TV” and that it will bring together cutting-edge technology with top celebrities.
However, rather than chat with an A-list host, the guests will jostle with “one of the most famous leaders in the world”.
It is a new spin on the evergreen genre and the BBC has been looking to add to its comedy talk-show roster, a genre that has struggled in the UK in the past few years. Although it airs the popular star-studded chat show The Graham Norton Show on Friday nights, it has struggled to cut through in the rest of the week.
The closest thing to success in recent years has been The Mash Report, hosted by Nish Kumar. The show, which is a spin-off of the Daily Mash, a satirical news site ala The Onion, has aired for two seasons on BBC Two with work starting on a third season featuring six episodes.
Similarly, other UK broadcasters have struggled as well with ITV’s ambitious format The Nightly Show airing for only one season and Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock Live, fronted by Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, comedian Jimmy Carr and radio host Lauren Laverne running for three seasons between 2011 and 2014.
This is in contrast with the U.S., where the likes of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee are all popular. Ironically, two of the most buzz worthy shows are hosted by Brits – The Late Late Show with James Corden on CBS and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO.