Late night talk show guests: April 12-18 (and Conan is coming to TBS!)

So the news just hit this morning, on the day he and his crew begin their 2-month "Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television" tour: Conan O'Brien will have a late night show on TBS beginning in November. George Lopez' show Lopez Tonight, which began last fall and surprisingly picked up big ratings in the younger demos, will move to midnight to allow Conan's new show to air at 11pm ET. And before people start comparing it to the NBC/Leno/Conan timeslot dispute, not only is Lopez Tonight not even close to the same thing as a late night institution like The Tonight Show, but Lopez was actually the one to get Conan to seriously consider going to TBS, calling Conan last week to give him the extra push to come to TBS.

For his part, Conan released this hilarious statement about his apparent fall from grace: "In three months I've gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I'm headed to basic cable. My plan is working perfectly."

So is this a good move? The more I read about it, the more I think "yes". First, Conan will own his show, just like Letterman does The Late Show under his Worldwide Pants banner. So if and when Conan moves back to network television (say, when Letterman retires in a couple years?) he won't have all his material owned by TBS like NBC now owns all Conan's classic characters and bits. Second, apparently he'll be making more money with TBS than he even did with NBC. Third, he'll have way less pressure to hit all the ratings marks on TBS than if he had ended up on FOX, and will definitely be given more freedom from the network to put on the show he wants to put on. Let's just hope his staff mostly stays intact.

His main competition now will actually be his basic cable brethren: Comedy Central's The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Thank goodness for PVRs is all I have to say!

Many of my fellow Canadians have taken to Twitter and Facebook to wonder what this means for them, since Canadian cable and satellite providers don't carry TBS (they only carry the local Atlanta channel that used to be TBS, PeachtreeTV, which doesn't air the late night shows). But I'm fairly certain that before November hits, one of the Canadian networks (possibly CityTV, or maybe even Global) will pick up the show.

But until November, there's his big tour (wish I had tickets!) and a whole lot of other late night television to check out. Here are my picks for this week:

  • Nathan Fillion (Monday on Kimmel) " Are you watching Castle Monday nights on ABC? From the way the ratings have grown over the past year, the answer could very well be yes, but if you're not, start immediately. Fillion (who previously starred in the short-lived Joss Whedon show Firefly and as Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog) is hilarious as Rick Castle, a famous crime novelist who ends up tagging along with a female police detective as she solves crimes in NYC. The show strikes a great balance between mystery and comedy, with a bit of a Bones feel, and Fillion's a big part of that. I'd love to interview him someday, but in the meantime, I'll watch him on
  • Michael J. Fox (Wednesday on Fallon) " The words "awesome" and "legend" come to mind. What more do you need? Watch Michael J. Fox on Late Night, okay?!
  • Ellie Kemper (Friday on Ferguson) " Ellie Kemper is another person I've been dying to interview. I first saw her in a Derrick Comedy video (probably NSFW) a couple years back, and she's been a very welcome addition to The Office, playing new receptionist Erin for the last year or so. It's kind of interesting that the funny supporting characters on NBC's only real "hit" get more promotion of Ferguson's CBS show than they do on their own network. Mindy Kaling has been a great semi-frequent guest with Craig, and now we've got the delightful Kemper stopping by with I believe her first-ever talk show appearance.
  • James Roday and Maggie Lawson (Sunday on Pollak) " You have no idea how excited I am to see two actors from Psych, my favourite show on television, appear on a talk show. Even better that it's on Kevin Pollak's Chat Show because there will be 1-2 hours of conversation and hilarity with them. If you read my interview with Psych creator Steve Franks, you know how awesome I think the show is. So if you haven't yet seen Psych for some reason, this will be a good introduction to its stars, and if you have seen it, then you'll know this a can't miss episode of KPCS.
  • Charlene Yi (Tuesday on Ferguson) " Did any of you see the quasi-documentary Paper Heart? It was one of the darlings of last year's Sundance Film Festival, and though it only had a limited theatrical release, is now on DVD. It's a delightful little film centered around Yi as a version of herself, interviewing regular people around the country (as well as comedian friends) trying to determine if true love even existed, and it works so well because of Yi's instant likability. She's adorable, and she'll be great on The Late Late Show.

The Late Show with David Letterman (CBS)

  • Mon 04/12: Tom Hanks, Spoon (Repeat)
  • Tue 04/13: Kelly Ripa, Lady Antebellum (Repeat)
  • Wed 04/14: Matt Damon, Danny Bhoy, Corinne Bailey Rae (Repeat)
  • Thu 04/15: Tina Fey, Bryan Cranston, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (Repeat)
  • Fri 04/16: Jerry Seinfeld, Tom Brokaw, a Top Ten List presented by Barbara Walters (Repeat)

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC)

  • Mon 04/12: Russell Crowe, Jenna Elfman, Sade
  • Tue 04/13: Nicolas Cage, Lisa Lampanelli, Lady Antebellum
  • Wed 04/14: Tracy Morgan, Chloe Moretz, Alan Jackson
  • Thu 04/15: Kate Gosselin, Kenny Chesney
  • Fri 04/16: Hugh Jackman, Betty White, Collective Soul

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (CBS)

  • Mon 04/12: Tim Gunn, Kathy Kinney
  • Tue 04/13: James Marsden, Charlyne Yi
  • Wed 04/14: Andie MacDowell, Dario Franchitti
  • Thu 04/15: Kirstie Alley, Sade
  • Fri 04/16: Willie Nelson, Ellie Kemper

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC)

  • Mon 04/12: Alan Cumming, Greta Gerwig, Cliff Bleszinski, Baron Vaughn
  • Tue 04/13: Kelly Ripa, Eric Stonestreet, the Specials
  • Wed 04/14: Michael J. Fox, Green Day, Kaki King
  • Thu 04/15: Chris Rock, Emma Stone, the Unseen
  • Fri 04/16: Tracy Morgan, the cast of "Diggnation", Ndamukong Suh, the Flaming Lips

Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)

  • Mon 04/12: Pamela Anderson, Nathan Fillion, Them Crooked Vultures
  • Tue 04/13: Zoe Saldana, Balthazar Getty, the latest Dancing with the Stars castoff, Them Crooked Vultures
  • Wed 04/14: Alyssa Milano, Jerry Weintraub, Gloriana
  • Thu 04/15: David Duchovny, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Spoon
  • Fri 04/16: Pierce Brosnan, Craig Robinson, Sarah McLachlan & Emmylou Harris (Repeat)

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

  • Mon 04/12: Bryan Cranston
  • Tue 04/13: Rachel Maddow
  • Wed 04/14: Richard Burt
  • Thu 04/15: Tracy Morgan

The Colbert Report (Comedy Central, CTV)

  • Mon 04/12: Jeffrey Toobin, Julian Assange
  • Tue 04/13: Jon Mooallem
  • Wed 04/14: David Shields
  • Thu 04/15: Aimee Mullins

Last Call with Carson Daly (NBC)

  • Mon 04/12: Jeremy Renner, Tomm Moore, Grizzly Bear (Repeat)
  • Tue 04/13: Olivia Munn, La Roux
  • Wed 04/14: Gossip
  • Thu 04/15: She & Him
  • Fri 04/16: Matthew Vaughn, the XX

Lopez Tonight (TBS)

  • Mon 04/12: Chris Rock, Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Shane Mosley
  • Tue 04/13: Benjamin Bratt, Audrina Patridge, Bryan Kellen
  • Wed 04/14: Luke Wilson, Monica
  • Thu 04/15: James Marsden, Reggie Miller

The Hour with George Stroumboloupoulos (CBC)

  • Mon 04/12: Yann Martel, Cypress Hill
  • Tue 04/13: Eddie Izzard, Jane Goodall
  • Wed 04/14: Melissa Gilbert, Joey McIntyre, Louis Ferreira (Repeat Guests)
  • Thu 04/15: Roseanne Cash, Kevin Smith, Saorise Ronan (Repeat Guests)
  • Fri 04/16: Harrison Ford, Terry Gilliam, Hulk Hogan (Repeat Guests)

Kevin Pollak's Chat Show (Online)

  • Sun 04/18 (3pm PST): James Roday and Maggie Lawson (USA's Psych)

Tags: Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Fallon, Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Hour, 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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