In early September, NBC News announced that Carson Daly, host of NBC‘s late-night show Last Call and the network’s primetime singing competition The Voice, would be joining Today as a daily contributor. At the same time, Last Call, renewed in April for a 13th season, was slated to begin production but it didn’t, raising speculation about the show’s future. NBC back then stressed that Daly will remain an exec producer on Last Call, which was working on a “transition” plan. That typically is a code name for a quiet cancellation but in this case, Last Call indeed started production in late September, a couple of weeks behind schedule. It quietly started airing originals the last week of October, introducing a new format that still features Daly. Because of his increased workload, he is now only doing “wraparounds,” framing each episode with an opening and a conclusion, while the artist interviews are being done by producers. After testing out the format, it seems to be working for everyone, with NBC planning to keep the show as is, at least for the next few months. (Last Call has scheduled hiatuses for the holidays and the Winter Olympics.) In addition to The Voice, Daly also hosts NBC’s annual New Year’s Eve special.
Carson Daly, longtime host of NBC‘s late-night show Last Call, and host of the network’s primetime singing competition The Voice, has joined NBC News’ Today as its “digital doorman,” he said this morning. Daly will be holed up in this Orange Room on the struggling morning infotainment show’s new set, which will be unveiled Monday. “Orange Room,” NBC said this morning, “is the nexus point between the Today audience and the show, embracing the many ways that viewers seek out and share news across all media and allowing the show and its fans to connect in a variety of new ways. In a casual, lounge-like setting, the Orange Room will also be a hub of emerging technology, equipped for everything from social media hangouts, to extended live-stream interviews with Today guests, analysis of real-time social data and reactions from the web, as well as the home for Today’s original digital franchises.” Pop quiz tomorrow.
It’s probably no coincidence NBC tossed out its latest Today show bright shiny light the same day ABC was set to issue its weekly morning infotainment-show ratings report. In the report, ABC notes that, season-to-date, GMA is seeing its largest overall season audience in more than 21 years and its best 25-54 performance in five years, and that it has had the largest overall audience among morning infotainment shows the past 55 consecutive weeks — and that GoodMorningAmerica.com on Yahoo! reached 22 million users last month, and is the No. 1 morning-news website, beating Today.com by millions of viewers each month.
UPDATE: Today’s announcement throws into question — again – the fate of Last Call. Daly’s out as host, but will remain an exec producer on the show, the network said this morning, adding that a “transition” plan would be announced “at a later date” — which industry insiders assume means “lickety split” since the show should already have gone into production for its new season. It’s not the first time Last Call has been on the block. What started as a straight talk show, morphed into a half-hour mix of interviews and pre-taped location music performances over the years as ratings declined and budgets were cut. When it debuted way back in 2002, Last Call clocked about 1.4 million viewers – 417,000 of them in the target 18-34 demo (and 850,000 of them in the 18-49 demo). It peaked in ’04 with an average audience of 1.6 million (525,000 in 18-34), but has been sliding slowly since. This season it’s averaging 875,000 viewers (149,000 in 18-34). That said, for the first 10 weeks of the third quarter, Last Call has moved ahead of CBS’s Late Late Show by a teensy margin in 18-34 (145,000 vs. 144,000).
The addition of a 13th season of NBC‘s 1:35 AM show comes amid speculation of big changes in the network’s late-night lineup that started with official word that Jimmy Fallon is taking over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno in 2014. Yesterday there were reports that NBC was in talks with Alec Baldwin about taking on the slot now occupied by Last Call With Carson Daly. That appears to be off the front burner now — at least for this year. Here’s NBC’s release:
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — April 10, 2013 — NBC has renewed its innovative late-night series “Last Call with Carson Daly,” acclaimed as TV’s unofficial music tastemaker, for a 13th season, it was announced by Paul Telegdy, President, Alternative and Late Night Programming, NBC.
“We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Carson who has broken the mold, creating his own unique late-night show format with ‘Last Call,’“ said Telegdy. “The show has become a platform for emerging artists – and Carson’s engaging interview style has made it the place for insightful conversations with an eclectic group of new stars as well as established icons and news makers.”
The NBC late-night saga continues. With the Tonight Show transition set, the attention is shifting to the other members of the network’s late-night lineup. NBC brass had been hinting of wholesale changes, and that may include the least-talked-about program in late-night, Last Call With Carson Daly, which has quietly made it to 12 seasons. The New York Times is reporting that NBC is in early talks with Alec Baldwin about potentially taking over the 1:35 AM half-hour. NBC has already laid the groundwork for a potential Baldwin late-night stint. Following his seven-year run on the network’s 30 Rock, the network kept the Emmy-winning actor in the fold with a two-year overall deal inked late last year. Baldwin already has proven his chops as a comedy performer with a record 16 stints as host of NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Additionally, he’s been honing his skills as interviewer with his weekly podcast Here’s The Thing, in which he interviews famous people. And taking on a half-hour late-late night program won’t be as time consuming as hosting an hourlong show like Tonight or Late Night, allowing Baldwin take acting jobs. UPDATE: I hear that there is interest in Baldwin for potential NBC’s late-night opportunities, largely based on his popular podcasts, though things have not progressed beyond that yet.
It would be interesting whether Lorne Michaels, who was behind turning Baldwin into SNL’s top host and bringing …
NBC has renewed its contract with SVP Special Programs and Alternative Doug Vaughan, with his expanded responsibilities including and oversight of most of the network’s late-night programs. Now SVP Special Programs and Late Night, he will shepherd Saturday Night Live, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and Last Call With Carson Daly. He will remain based in New York and report to alternative and late-night president Paul Telegdy, who will continue to oversee The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on the West Coast. The move is part of the restructuring in NBC late night, which started last month when Telegdy added late-night to his purview and the network’s long-time head of late-night Rick Ludwin stepped down, followed by the exit of VP Nick Bernstein. A former supervising producer on Today, Vaughan will retain responsibility for NBC’s specials and several alternative series including such East Coast-based fare as the upcoming A Michael Buble Christmas as well as the Golden Globe Awards, New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly, and The Miss Universe Pageant.
Carson Daly, who recently landed a primetime NBC gig hosting the new reality series The Voice, has also secured his late-night job at the network. NBC has renewed late-night show Last Call with Carson Daly for the 2011-12 season, Last Call’s 11th. “Last Call is enjoying its best season yet and its ratings are up,” said NBC’s EVP late night Rick Ludwin. Last Call with Carson Daly is produced by Universal Media Studios. Stewart Bailey and Guy Oseary continue as executive producers.
It is the often-forgotten member of the NBC late-night lineup that stayed clear of the network’s recent late-night shakeups. But quietly, Last Call with Carson Daly will reach a decade on the air after NBC announced today that it is renewing the daily 1:35 AM-2:05 AM show for a 10th season with Stewart Bailey returning as executive producer. Additionally, Alex Coletti (MTV’s Unplugged) as the new executive producer of the network’s annual NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly.
“I really feel that Last Call has hit its stride,” said former MTV star Daly. “I am glad Stewart is coming back because he is incredibly smart and he owes me 35 dollars. Likewise, Alex is great, he produced MTV’s ‘Unplugged.’ He assures me we will have electricity for the New Years Eve show.” Coletti’s credits also include the halftime shows for Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXV. Coletti’s production company also produced the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular for NBC.