Late night guest line-ups: September 14-20

This week marks the debut of the "primetime talk show", when NBC brings us The Jay Leno Show at 10/9c every week day. The former Tonight Show host will be competing with the CSIs of the world for ratings, as well as keeping 5 hours of potential scripted television off the air. Leno promises that the show will be more about comedy (sketches, filmed pieces, etc.) than celebrity guests like the traditional talk show format, which could separate him from the rest of the shows currently in late night. But will people watch in primetime? And will the show be any good.

Also, starting today on, aside from posting the line-ups for the talk shows, we're also going to be posting the most recent available full episode (as well as next weeks guest info) for the relatively new (and completely engaging and interesting) online show, Kevin Pollak's Chat Show. If the title isn't self-explanatory enough for you, it's hilarious stand-up comedian and great Hollywood character actor Kevin Pollak hosting one or two lengthy one-on-one (or occasionally, one-on-many) conversations with actors, comedians, writers, and directors. So far, he's interviewed the likes of Dana Carvey, Seth McFarlane, Hank Azaria, Nia Vardalos, and Matthew Perry, among others.

The show has a Charlie Rose look to it, with a black background, round table, and simple set-up, but is quite different in content, first of all going much longer than anything on network or cable television, and also throwing in great random comedic elements from Pollak (and often guests). The show is also interactive, and if you watch it live at each Sunday at 5pm PT, you can take part in the interactive portion of the show, where Pollak takes several questions from Tweeters (via, commenters, and e-mails and poses them to the guest(s). But if you want to watch it at your leisure, you can do so right from the bottom of this post every week!

Anyway, here are this week's Top 5 must-see guests on the network shows:

  • Jerry Seinfeld (Monday on Leno) - I may not be a big Jay Leno fan (though I'm willing to give his new show a chance, for no other reason than the comedy people he's brought on board to do various field segments for the show) but it's undeniable that his new primetime show could change the television landscape. Lots of people -- and not just his diehard fans who have been missing him since Conan took over The Tonight Show -- will be tuning in Monday to see what kind of show he's going to be putting on. Me, I'll be tuning in more for Jerry Seinfeld, who will hopefully talk about the meta Seinfeld reuinion that will be taking place this season on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
  • Matt Damon (Tuesday on Stewart) - Matt Damon is always an entertaining interview, but after the hilarious story about George Clooney on Letterman last week, I'm extra excited to see what kind of stuff Jon will bring the interview. Plus, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are back from a 3-week hiatus with new episodes this week!
  • Louis CK (Thursday on Conan) - Louis CK, who is a former writer on Late Night with Conan O'Brien (along with The Dana Carvey Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, and The Chris Rock Show), is arguably the best stand-up comedian working today. His act can sometimes be crude or offensive, but it's because he doesn't back down from any topic -- and also says the kind of things the rest of us just wish we could say. One of his last appearances on Late Night produced this classic bit which I still consider one of the most accurate criticisms of society's "modern" mindset:
  • Megadaeth (Thursday on Fallon) - There are a lot of great musical guests this week (Rufus Wainwright on Monday's Late Night, Eric Clapton and Bruce Hornsby on Thursday's Leno, and Metric on Tuesday's Last Call), but the young metalhead in me (which still occasionally shows itself) is excited to see Megadeth perform on late night TV. My memory isn't what it used to be, but I'm not sure when the last time Dave Mustaine and his band have performed on network television. It should be pretty sweet.
  • Kanye West (Monday on Leno) - He wasn't on my original list (that was Ricky Gervais on The Daily Show), but after stupidly taking the stage to interrupt Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the MTV Video Awards because he felt the need to tell the world he thought Beyonce should have won the award, Kanye West is going to be part of the first musical act on the new Jay Leno Show. Will he even show up, since he's supposed to be backing up Jay-Z (who also happens to be married to Beyonce)? Will people boo him? Will Jay comment about it in his monologue? It could make for some good television.

The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien (NBC)

  • Mon 9/14: Charlize Theron, stuntman Steven Ho, Dave Matthews Band
  • Tue 9/15: Jennifer Aniston, Ted Danson, Phoenix
  • Wed 9/16: Aaron Eckhart, Michael Strahan, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Thu 9/17: Megan Fox, Louis CK, the winner of "America's Got Talent"
  • Fri 9/18: Courteney Cox, Nelly Furtado

The Late Show with David Letterman (CBS)

  • Mon 9/14: Adam Sandler, Cage the Elephant (Repeat)
  • Tue 9/15: Anne Heche, Jim Parsons, Care Bears on Fire (Repeat)
  • Wed 9/16: Billy Crystal, John Fogerty (Repeat)
  • Thu 9/17: Mike Myers, Ken Burns (Repeat)
  • Fri 9/18: Renee Zellweger, Gary Mule Deer (Repeat)

The Jay Leno Show (NBC)

  • Mon 9/14: Jerry Seinfeld, Jay-Z with Rihanna & Kanye West
  • Tue 9/15: Tom Cruise, Michael Moore, Cameron Diaz
  • Wed 9/16: Robin Williams, Miley Cyrus
  • Thu 9/17: Halle Berry, Bruce Hornsby & Eric Clapton
  • Fri 9/18: Drew Barrymore

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC)

  • Mon 9/14: Sen. John McCain, Miranda Cosgrove, Rufus Wainwright
  • Tue 9/15: Anna Faris, Alan Cumming, Ghostface
  • Wed 9/16: Charlize Theron, David Boreanaz
  • Thu 9/17: Dennis Quaid, Elisabeth Moss, Megadeth
  • Fri 9/18: Danny DeVito, James Blake, Keri Hilson

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (CBS)

  • Mon 9/14: Juliette Lewis, Alex O'Loughlin (Repeat)
  • Tue 9/15: Danny DeVito (Repeat)
  • Wed 9/16: Audrey Tautou, Ron Livingston (Repeat)
  • Thu 9/17: Drew Carey, Mindy Kaling (Repeat)
  • Fri 9/18: Neil Patrick Harris (Repeat)

Jimmy Kimmell Live (ABC)

  • Mon 9/14: Gerard Butler, Nate Berkus, Maxwell (Repeat)
  • Tue 9/15: Eva Longoria Parker, Kelly Clarkson, appearances by Matt Damon and Joel McHale
  • Wed 9/16: David Alan Grier, 10-year-old vacuum cleaner expert Gregory Evans, Pink
  • Thu 9/17: Jenna Elfman, Danny Pudi
  • Fri 9/18: Christian Slater, Ed O'Neill, Sofia Vergara, Shakira

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, CTV)

  • Mon 9/14: LeBron James
  • Tue 9/15: Matt Damon
  • Wed 9/16: Ricky Gervais

The Colbert Report (Comedy Central, CTV)

  • Mon 9/14: Cory Booker
  • Tue 9/15: Christiane Amanpour
  • Wed 9/16: The Flaming Lips
  • Thu 9/17: Frank Bruni

Last Call with Carson Daly (NBC)

  • Mon 9/14: Alison Brie, Brian Deegan, Franz Ferdinand
  • Tue 9/15: Jesse Metcalf, Caleb Aero, Metric
  • Wed 9/16: Seth Green, Kevin Lyman, Pete Yorn
  • Thu 9/17: Frank Caliendo, Emily Wells

Kevin Pollak's Chat Show (Online)

  • Sun 9/20: Jane Campion (director of The Piano and Bright Star).

Tags: The Tonight Show, Late Night, David Letterman, Craig Ferguson, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Jimmy Kimmell, Conan O'Brien, Kevin Pollak, talk shows

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Paul Little is the founder and Managing Editor of When not interviewing his favourite musicians and comedians, he can also be found putting on and promoting music and comedy events with The Purple Room in Winnipeg, or co-producing the live comedy game shows Pants on Fire and The Great Patio Showdown. (@comedygeek)

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