Saturday, September 19, 2015

2015 Emmy Predictions

emmysI’m going to try to predict this year’s Emmy awards “scientifically” using four basic rules. Two of the rules are Positive, one is Negative, and one is what I guess you could call Neutral or Preferential. There’s also a fifth rule that’s not yet proven. These predictions are based on things I’ve observed about the Emmys from long before I started this Blog and even before I had the Internet.

So what are these rules? They’re actually pretty simple:

Rule 1: Winners win….until you know, they don’t.
The Emmys are unique among entertainment awards shows in that the same show or people can win year after year. The equivalent at the Oscars would be for last year’s Best Picture winner to win again this year. It doesn’t happen at the Tonys, the Grammys or the Oscars, just the Emmys and any other awards show that touches on TV. And the Emmys tend to give awards to previous season’s winners.

Rule 2: The “Hot New Thing” can overturn previous season’s winners, but it’s the academy that decide what the hot new thing is.
Funny thing about the TV awards. The people who choose the nominees and who vote for the winners don’t actually watch a hell of a lot of TV. TV critics (the pros) watch a lot of TV but the people at the TV academy are too busy working making TV shows to actually watch TV shows on a regular basis. What they know about what’s hot and what’s not is generally based on ratings and buzz and whatever  they decide is “quality” TV this year.

Rule 3: Premium cable trumps basic cable which trumps broadcast TV.
And by premium cable I mean HBO. This year HBO had 40 nominations, while Showtime had nine and Cinemax (!) had one. Those 40 nominations for HBO were greater than ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC combined although when you factor PBS into the mix it is greater. We don’t know yet were streaming video factors into this except to say that while they get more nominations than The CW, Amazon and Netflix have had very limited success.

Rule 4: Fantasy and Science Fiction don’t win… unless they come from HBO.
In fact Fantasy and Science Fiction shows almost never get nominations unless they’re on HBO. Battlestar Galactica may have been one of the best shows on all of TV during its run but never earned a Primetime Emmy nomination. Creative Arts Emmys sure, but not Emmy’s from Writing, Directing or Acting, let alone Outstanding Drama Series which are the categories being awarded on Sunday.

Let’s take a look at the series and acting categories and apply the rules. I’ll put the rule number that applies to the person or show beside their name.

Outstanding Supporting Actor Comedy
  • Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, FOX (2)
  • Titus Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix (2)
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family, ABC (1)
  • Adam Driver, Girls, HBO (3)
  • Tony Hale, Veep, HBO (1, 3)
  • Keegan-Michael Key, Key and Peele, Comedy Central
 Based on this I think it will come down to a battle between the only two actors who have won before, with the edge going to Tony Hale of Veep, who was upset in the voting last year.

Outstanding Supporting Actress Comedy
  • Mayim Bialik, Big Bang Theory, CBS
  • Julie Bowen, Modern Family, ABC (1)
  • Anna Chlumsky, Veep, HBO (3)
  • Gaby Hoffman, Transparent, Amazon (2)
  • Allison Janney, Mom, CBS (1)
  • Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix (2)
  • Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live, NBC
  • Niecy Nash, Getting On, HBO (3)
 This looks tighter than it probably is. I think that Allison Janney will probably win her second straight Emmy because Bowen’s position as a previous winner goes back three years.I’m not sure how “hot” and “new” Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Transparent are. Plus, the fact is that Janney’s role is really closer to being a Lead Actress role, and that always get the attention of the Academy.

Outstanding Supporting Actor Drama
  • Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul, AMC (2)
  • Jim Carter, Downton Abbey, PBS
  • Alan Cumming, The Good Wife, CBS
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones, HBO (1,3,4)
  • Michael Kelly, House of Cards, Netflix
  • Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline, Netflix
I think it comes down to Peter Dinklage and Jonathon Banks. This is another weird one. Dinklage is the only actor to win for a Science Fiction-Fantasy show in years, because it was on HBO (and he is an amazing actor), but Jonathon Banks has been nominated in the past for playing this character and yet he is playing the character in a “Hot New show.” I think give this category to Jonathon Banks.

Outstanding Supporting Actress Drama
  • Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black, Netflix
  • Christine Baranski, The Good Wife, CBS
  • Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones, HBO (3, 4)
  • Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey, PBS
  • Lena Headey, Game of Thrones, HBO (3, 4)
  • Christina Hendricks, Mad Men, AMC
This is a tough category because the rules really don’t apply. To be sure you have two actresses form an HBO show, but it’s a Fantasy series. None of the actors have won in this category in the last five Emmy shows although four of the six were nominated last year and two of the six were nominated each of the past five Emmys (Baransky and Hendricks). So we have to revert to the WAG Techniques (Wild Ass Guess). As much as I would like to see Christina Hendricks win, because I don’t think she’s ever likely to get a role as good as Joan Harris for a long long time, I am going to put my metaphorical money on Uzo Aduba.

Outstanding Lead Actor Comedy
  • Anthony Anderson, Black-ish, ABC (2)
  • Don Cheadle, House of Lies, Showtime (3)
  • Louis C.K., Louie, FX (3)
  • Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth, Fox (2)
  • Matt LeBlanc, Episodes, Showtime (3)
  • William H. Macy, Shameless, Showtime (3)
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent, Amazon (2)
Will Forte and Anthony Anderson are on “Hot New Shows” but I would question just how “Hot” or they really are. Jeffrey Tambor benefits from being on one of the most talked about shows of the 2014-15 season, and the fact that the guy who won four of the past five years, Jim Parsons, wasn’t nominated this time around. Tambor’s my pick here…. unless voters write in Parson’s name.

Outstanding Lead Actress Comedy
  • Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie, Showtime (1,3)
  • Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback, HBO (3)
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep, HBO (1,3)
  • Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation, NBC
  • Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer, Comedy Central (2)
  • Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie, Netflix
I’d be shocked if Julia Louis Dreyfus doesn’t take this one. She’s won the past three seasons which, coincidentally, is as long as her show has been on the air. She’s on premium cable, and while Amy Schumer has undeniable talent and has been setting the comedy world on fire, I just don’t think she can beat Dreyfus.

Outstanding Lead Actor Drama
  • Kyle Chandler, Bloodline, Netflix
  • Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom, HBO (1, 3)
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men, AMC
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul, AMC (2)
  • Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan, Showtime (3)
  • Kevin Spacey, House of Cards, Netflix
My heart wants to say John Hamm will get his turn now that Bryan Cranston has departed the scene, but the rules are against him. While I realize that Jeff Daniels scored a huge upset over Cranston two years ago by beating him in this category, and is on an HBO show, I’ll give this one to Bob Odenkirk for playing an old Breaking Bad supporting character elevated to the lead on the “Hot New” Better Call Saul.

Outstanding Lead Actress Drama
  • Claire Danes, Homeland, Showtime (1, 3) 
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder, ABC (2)
  • Taraji P. Henson, Empire, Fox (2)
  • Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black, BBC America (4)
  • Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men, AMC
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards, Netflix
Two of the hottest new shows of the year face off in this category where the seemingly perpetual winner, Julianna Margulies, wasn’t nominated this time. Claire Danes is a two time winner so she’s a definite prospect, but there are those who think her show has slipped into absurdity. I personally think it comes down to Viola Davis vs. Taraji P. Henson. I’m going to reluctantly come down on the side of Viola Davis (reluctantly because I really don’t like the character or the show) simply because from what I’ve seen Taraji P. Henson’s character, Cookie Lyon, seems to be way over the top. Of course I wouldn’t be surprised if Henson won either.

Outstanding Comedy Series
  • Louie, FX
  • Modern Family, ABC (1)
  • Parks and Recreation, NBC
  • Silicon Valley, HBO (3)
  • Transparent, Amazon (2)
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix
  • Veep, HBO (3)
In the past five years Modern Family has won this category five times. It’s probably the safe call to say that it will make it six in a row, but all streaks have to come to an end eventually (don’t they?) and I can definitely see Transparent knocking he wheels off of the Modern Family juggernaut, because I think it’s time.

Outstanding Drama Series
  • Better Call Saul, AMC (2)
  • Downton Abbey, PBS
  • Game of Thrones, HBO (3, 4)
  • Homeland, Showtime (1, 3)
  • House of Cards, Netflix
  • Mad Men, AMC (1)
  • Orange Is the New Black, Netflix
Breaking Bad not being on the list opens things up a lot. Homeland and Mad Men have both won in this category in the past but neither show was at its best this past season and the same can be said of non-winner House of Cards. Game of Thrones has the “Fantasy” label attached. That leaves us with Downton Abbey, Orange Is the New Black, and Better Call Saul. Because Better Call Saul wins the “Hot New Show” description, and I’m not sure the TV Academy has quite wrapped its collective heads around Netflix, I’ll make that my choice in this category.

The 67th Annual Emmy Awards will be seen Sunday, September 20 on FOX. Watch this space to see how well I and the “rules” I came up with do.

Update: The rules had a .600 Batting Average which is really rather good, although I will have to tinker with them more for next year. Details to follow.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Latest Blog

I just started a new blog called That’s What I Think About That. Don’t bother going there yet; there’s nothing there yet. It’s a work in progress that hasn’t progressed very much. What I wanted was a place where I can vent my spleen over things that don’t exactly fit into a blog focussed on TV. Like the US Supreme Court ruling on Same Sex Marriage and the reactions of some people to that decision. Or NHL expansion to Las Vegas and other places. Or the wrong-headedness of fixed election dates in Canada.


Posting at the new blog will be sporadic – which I know is a big joke give the way this blog has gone of late. Still this is a way for me to put my opinions out there with the illusion that someone might read it. But it’s mostly just for me.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Problem Resolved

Title says it all. It was related to two factor authentication from Google and the need for a Google generated password to access Google websites with third-party, non-browser tools. Complicated and I tend to like things that are simple.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I am officially having problems posting to this blog.

In the past I’ve used Microsoft Live Writer to post new entries to my blog, and before that Microsoft Word. However during my recent almost year long hiatus from blogging, something has apparently changed and I can’t use these tools. When I try I get the following error message when using Live Writer (my ancient version of Word – 2007 – gives me even less explanation):

Windows Live Writer was not able to log in to the remote server using the username and password.
Please check that the information is correct and try again.

Needless to say, the information is correct but no amount of trying again will give me the desired result. Apparently this might have something to do with two-factor identification but for the life of me I can’t figure out how to make this right. As it stands right now I can mostly post by cutting and pasting – which is what I’m doing with this post – but that gets old fast.

Any help anyone can offer me would be greatly appreciated

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

NBC Upfronts 2015-16

It’s that time of year again when the US broadcast TV networks cancel the shows they decided didn’t work last season and unveil the new shows that they believe will sweep up audiences in droves… most of which will be cancelled this time next year.And I’m going to try to write about them at least until I’m overwhelmed by despair about the new season and retreat into watching what I always watch.

As always NBC led off the upfront season although unlike in previous years they chose to introduce their new line-up on a Sunday rather than the traditional Monday. By turns the new offerings are vaguely intriguing, yawn worthy, and disappointing. First the cancellations (some of which were in the “blink and you’ve missed it” category of midseason replacements).

Constantine, State of Affairs, Marry Me, About A Boy, One Big Happy, A to Z, Allegiance, Bad Judge, Parenthood, Park & Recreation, Working The Engels

Renewed (not counting summer series)
Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Grimm, Hollywood Game Night, Law & Order SVU, Biggest Loser, The Blacklist, Celebrity Apprentice, The Mysteries of Laura, Undateable

New Shows
Before Christmas: Blindspot, Heartbreaker, The Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, Heroes Reborn, The Player, People Are Talking
Midseason: Coach, Hot And Bothered, Chicago Med, Crowded, Emerald City, Game of Silence, Little Big Shots, Shades of Blue, Superstore, You And Me And The End Of The World

Fall Schedule by day

8-10 p.m. The Voice
10-11 p.m. BLINDSPOT

8-9 p.m. The Voice
Chicago Fire (starting in November)

8-9 p.m. The Mysteries of Laura
9-10 p.m. Law & Order SVU
10-11 p.m. Chicago PD

9-10 p.m. The Blacklist
10-11 p.m. THE PLAYER

8-8:30 p.m. Undateable
9-10 p.m. Grimm
10-11 p.m. Dateline


I’ve managed to see the trailers for most of these despite YouTube region blocking so I shall try to summarize largely without Network press releases (except for actor names).

Blindspot begins with a bag left in the middle of Time Square with a tag that says “Call FBI.” Inside is a naked woman (Jamie Alexander) covered with tattoos, all of which are new. “Jane Doe” has been stripped of her memories and has no idea who she is or why her body is covered in tattoos. One tattoo says to call FBI Agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) who has no idea why he’s being called in on this case or why his name is written in large letters on Jane Doe’s back, or for that matter the meaning of the tattoos. Over time several things become apparent: the tattoos on Jane’s back represent clues to crimes that they are to solve, and that Jane has considerable skills that she hasn’t forgotten that will help them solve those crimes.

Heartbreaker stars Melissa George as Dr. Alex Pantierre, one of a handful of female heart transplant surgeons in the world. She is also the head of new technologies at her hospital. As usual in medical dramas she is someone who breaks the rules if it can possibly help her patients and is more than willing to try innovative procedures when necessary. Also as usual in medical dramas (particularly medical dramas with female leads) she struggles to balance her professional life with her personal life.

NBC didn’t do a trailer for The Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris, so I’ll have to go to the network press release: “Complete with stunts, skits, pranks, audience interaction, musical numbers, giveaways and unlimited surprises, this show proves that anything can happen, and it can happen to you. Based on the wildly popular British hit Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.”

There also isn’t a trailer for Heroes Reborn beyond a few teasers from the Super Bowl in February which basically announced that the show would be coming back – as a 13 episode miniseries. As I understand it, some but not all of the original cast (including Jack Coleman and Masi Oka) will be returning for the mini-series while new people with powers will be emerging, most notably Zach Levi from Chuck.

The Player starts with an interesting concept. Philip Winchester plays Alex Kane, Las Vegas’s top – and most flamboyant – security expert. Following the murder of his wife, Alex is drawn into a complex game. In a city where people will bet on anything, the ultimate game is betting on whether Alex can stop a crime from taking place, or even survive the tasks put before him. In this “game” the house consists of three people: Alex – the Player, Cassandra King (Charity Wakefield) – the Dealer, and the mysterious Mr. Johnson (Wesley Snipes) – the Pit Boss. If Alex is able to accomplish the tasks put before him, he might just be able to get revenge for the death of his wife.


One thing I’ve noticed in going over the NBC shows that have been cancelled and renewed is just how few NBC shows I watched in the past season. I watched State Of Affairs and mostly didn’t find it as laughable as I had expected given that it was Katherine Heigl as a CIA agent who advised the President on national security threats. And yet I don’t find myself mourning its passing. I watched Chicago Fire and Chicago PD for quite a while but in the past year or so I’ve basically given up on those as well. Basically the only thing I watch on NBC is The Blacklist.

The biggest thing to note is the near absence of situation comedy in the fall line-up. Not counting the Neil Patrick Harris series, which sounds like it might turn into something of a mess, the only comedies in the line-up are the returning Undateable and the new People Are Talking. It is something of a sign that the only two comedies at the start of the season are both scheduled for Friday night before Grimm. Setting aside the fact that this is the “Friday night death slot” (because after all CBS at least seems to thrive on Fridays) People are Talking at least definitely doesn’t fall into the NBC comedy tradition as exemplified by Seinfeld, Fraser, The Office, Community, and Parks And Recreation. Then again the latter two series didn’t exactly set the ratings world on fire. Moreover last season, when NBC made a major push to do sit coms, the results were pretty disastrous with most of the shows dying a quick and for the most part well-deserved death. Based on the trailer that I saw, People Are Talking seems to be playing things very safe which is far different from the edgy sort of comedy that we generally expect from NBC.

Blindspot and The Player both seem interesting although they also seem to be trying to replicate the success of NBC’s one big drama success that isn’t produced by Dick Wolf, namely The Blacklist. Blindspot is probably closest to what The Blacklist in that there’s quite obviously a massive conspiracy behind the scenes that “Jane Doe” and Agent Weller will have to unravel. The question is whether audiences will have the patience to stick with the show if it is an unrelenting in pursuing the show’s mytharc, particularly when the show is opposite the “simpler” NCIS: Los Angeles and Castle. Initially at least The Player seems likely to be more episodic and therefore easier to access for viewers. Plus it has The Blacklist as a lead in, although the ratings for that show have been slipping, probably because it is going against Scandal and CBS comedies on Thursday night.

I’m not sure what to say about Heartbreaker. The whole thing of the female lead being forced to balance her personal and professional lives is such a cliché. Take that away and I’m not sure there’s enough there for the show to engage its audience. I wonder if this is meant as a placeholder to be replaced, when it inevitably crashes and burns, with Dick Wolf’s latest opus, Chicago Medical.

Finally something needs to be said about the revival of Heroes as Heroes Reborn. I don’t know why it’s happening given how quickly and totally the show collapsed in it’s first run. The cynic in me says that executives at NBC looked at the success of the Marvel movie/TV franchises (including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), not to mention Arrow and The Flash and even iZombie on The CW and said: “We need a superhero show. Okay so we blew it with Constantine but superheroes are still hot. Let’s take another run at doing Heroes. We’ll do it as a limited series, and if it works out maybe we’ll bring it back in 2016 as a full series.” And since I can’t think of a better reason why they revived this, I think the cynical view wins.

Final assessment of what NBC is giving us: there’s very little here that I actually find engaging. There are a couple of shows that I’ll try but I honestly don’t think much of their chances for survival. Nothing here strikes me as a genuine sustainable hit.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Prelude to Upfronts: Cancellations and Pick-ups

Before I started this blog, the whole business of “Network Upfronts” was as foreign as the Greek language to me. All I knew is that sometime in May the US networks would announce their new shows and cancel the unsuccessful ones from the previous year, and then the Canadian networks would pick them over to find the “best of the lot” for us, and conveniently forget that half of the shows that they considered the “best of the lot” were either cancelled by the end of the season.

Upfronts used to be the day when a Network President and his (and they were all men for a long time) would stand in front of the assembled masses of advertisers and the ink-stained wretches from the entertainment media and announce which shows have been cancelled and which have been picked up, and what next season’s TV schedule would look like. The advertisers would then – over the next few weeks – decide what shows they’d make their media buys on, and how much they’d be willing to pay. Meanwhile the entertainment media would, wittingly or not, promote the new shows with information even thought they’d basically only seen the few clips provided by the network at the Upfronts. The key point was that the networks announced all of their changes at their Upfront day.

In recent years things have changed. Networks announce their renewals and their cancellations before the Upfronts – days and sometimes even weeks before – and they’ve taken to announcing shows they’ve picked up in advance as well. In the past I’ve held off from reporting or commenting on these announcements, preferring to wait until a network’s upfront day. I’m not sure that that approach is practical anymore. So what I’ve decided to do is to list the cancellations and the pickups before the upfronts, and comment on the percentage of available time that the proposed new shows will be taking up on each network.

Cancellations: The Assets, Back In The Game, Killer Women, Lucky 7, Mind Games, Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, Mixology, Trophy Wife, Betrayal, The Neighbors, Super Fun Night, Suburgatory,
Status Unknown: The Taste, Black Box
Picked Up: Dramas  American Crime, The Astronauts Wives Club,The Club, Forever, How To Get Away With Murder, Marvel’s Agent Carter, Secrets & Lies, The Whispers
Comedies – Black-ish, Galavant, Manhattan Love Story, Selfie
Update: Two comedies that I missed: Cristela and Fresh Off The Boat  which were announced at the same time as the renewal of Last Man Standing.

Comments: Eight hours of Dramas, four half-hours of Comedies. I was saddened but not surprised by the cancellation of Trophy Wife. The kids, and in particular Burt, were great and it was fun to see Bradley Whitford playing straight man both to the kids and the women in his life. If this show had a better time slot – like between The Middle and Modern Family instead of after another newcomer, The Goldbergs – I think it could have worked.


Cancellations: How I Met Your Mother, We Are Men, Bad Teacher, The Crazy Ones, Friends With Better Lives, Hostages, Intelligence
Picked Up: Dramas – Battle Creek, CSI: Cyber, Madam Secretary, NCIS: New Orleans, Scorpion, Stalker
Comedies – The McCarthys, The Odd Couple

Comments: Six hours of Dramas, two half-hours of Comedies. Only two survivors of the new shows, Mom and The Millers. I think that the limited series nature of Hostages was a bad choice to go against Castle, and Intelligence was just pretty bad. Disappointed that the cut The Crazy Ones, a series with a stand-out cast that I really enjoyed. Unfortunately stand-out cast equals expensive cast, which was probably as much a cause of the show’s demise as the ratings.


Cancellations: American Dad (moving to TBS), The Cleveland Show, Raising Hope, The X-Factor, Almost Human, Dads, Enlisted, Surviving Jack, Rake
Picked Up: Dramas – Backstrom, Empire, Gotham, Hieroglyph, Red Band Society
Comedies – Last Man On Earth, Mulaney, Weird Loners

Comments: Five hours of Dramas, three half-hours of Comedies. All of the professional TV critics are mourning the loss of Enlisted but I never saw the show (because the premise sounded dumb to me) so I can’t comment. I really liked Almost Human, the “cop and robot” buddy show set in a not totally dystopian future. It wasn’t great but I liked it better than THe Following. So sue me.


Cancellations: Ironside, Sean Saves The World, Welcome To The Family, The Michael J. Fox Show, Believe, Community, Crisis, Dracula, Revolution, Growing Up Fisher
Status Unknown: Parenthood
Picked Up: Dramas – Allegiance, Constantine, Emerald City, The Mysteries of Laura, Odyssey, Shades Of Blue, State of Affairs
Comedies – A to Z, Bad Judge, Marry Me, Mission Control, Mr. Robinson, One Big Happy, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Comments: Seven hours of Dramas, seven half-hours of Comedy. It is a mark of how far NBC has fallen that I can’t think of one show that they cancelled that I am really going to miss. I know the professional critics and a devoted fan base loved Community with a love that burned like the Sun, but I never watched it, being totally turned off by the presence of Chevy Chase. BTW, there apparently hasn't been a decision on Parenthood because of negotiations over the number of episodes stars of the show will appear in. The network weasels want the leads to do nine episodes of the total of thirteen planned, and they're balking at that idea
Update: While the renewal of Parenthood has not been announced officially, the cast have apparently agreed to a deal which would see them each participate in a reduced number of episodes within a 13 episode season, thus allowing the series to have a resolution.

The CW
Cancellations: Nikita, The Carrie Diaries, The Tomorrow People, Star Crossed
Picked Up: The Flash, iZombie, Jane The Virgin, The Messengers

Comments: Four hours of new series, all Dramas. Yawn. The only show I watch on The CW is Arrow. I suppose I’m sort of surprised that a show about 16th century royalty and religious wars (Reign) got renewed, and I suppose that The 100 is the sort of show I generally like but really, I’ve got nothing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Late Night Turnover

craig-fergusonSo Craig Ferguson has announced that he’ll be leaving the Late Late Show in December of 2014. This the the fourth of the broadcast network late night talk shows to either replace their hosts or announce that their hosts will be leaving within a year. First Leno hands off The Tonight Show to Jimmy Fallon, which necessitates Fallon handing off Late Night to Seth Meyers. Then you had David Letterman quitting The Late Show With David Letterman and being replaced with Stephen Colbert – the comedian, not the character he plays on The Colbert Report – and now Craig Ferguson is going away. Only Jimmy Kimmel remains from last year’s hosts.

Which brings us to the question of who will replace Ferguson? Of the three replacements – Fallon, Meyers and Colbert – only one was a sure thing before the replacement took place and that was Fallon. His deal to replace Leno was in place for quite some time. For the others, there was a lot of speculation about who would, or should get the job. In fact I was working on a piece for this long dormant blog of mine about who should replace Letterman when they announced Colbert. I can’t remember now who I was coming out in favour of, but it wasn’t Colbert.

At the same time that I was trying to figure out who should replace Letterman, some people were being quite vocal about putting someone “different” from the basic “Straight White Guy” in the host’s chair, and they seemed to pick on The Late Show as a place to start “the revolution.” To a degree they have a valid point. Of the late night talk show hosts out there, and this includes syndication and cable shows as well as the broadcast networks, the only ones who aren’t “Straight White Guys” are Chelsea Handler on E! Network’s Chelsea Lately, and Arsenio Hall on the syndicated Arsenio Hall Show. And Handler is leaving her show this Fall when her contract with E! comes to an end… which led to speculation that she was a candidate for the Late Show job and is a candidate for the Late Late Show position, rumours that have been denied by both CBS and Handler herself.

Current speculation – and I don’t know who is doing the speculating , I just got this stuff from Mark Evanier’s blog – is that John Oliver from The Daily Show or Neil Patrick Harris (formerly from How I Met Your Mother) are leading candidates. However Oliver (Straight White Guy) has a two year contract with HBO to do a late night talk show satirizing current events called Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which probably knocks him out of the running. Harris (Gay White Guy) has had experience both as a comedic actor and as an awards show host on numerous occasions so he’s a good candidate. However he and his family have recently moved to New York, and after many years of their being no late night talk shows in New York except Letterman, three of the five are now New York based. I think CBS would probably prefer to have at least one Los Angeles based host. So maybe the field is open to a different prospect.

Even though the people who wanted someone who was not a “Straight White Guy” for the Late Show had a point about the lack of diversity among late night talk show hosts, the Late Show was probably the wrong venue for that fight. The network’s big late night show is not a proper venue for someone coming new to the game of hosting a talk show. That’s one of the reasons why many people would not have been upset to see Ferguson take over for Letterman; it would have seemed like a natural progression (it wasn’t going to happen though because Craig had apparently made up his mind to leave well before Dave announced his departure). On the other hand the slot after the late night show is a logical place give potential new hosts a chance to show their stuff. Think of it as a farm team for the major leagues. Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Craig Ferguson were all people who had track records in comedy, either as writers (O’Brien) or actors and/or stand-ups (Ferguson, Fallon and even Letterman) but no experience hosting talk shows before they got the show after The Show. Leno didn’t go that route, but he was the regular replacement host for Johnny Carson which was probably the next best thing. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Craig Kilborn, who hosted The Late Late Show for five years between Tom Snyder and Craig Ferguson, hated the experience and seems to have pretty much left the entertainment business. Conan’s time at The Tonight Show was a disaster, although that was probably because Leno didn’t want to go that time. But Letterman was a success, and so far Fallon seems to be succeeding, and I doubt that would have been the case had NBC announced that Seth Meyers was going directly from Saturday Night Live to The Tonight Show. So the opportunity exists for someone who is a “Not Straight White Guy” to get this job.

Do I have a candidate? Well as a matter of fact yes. I’m not sure that this person wants the job and I’m doubting that this person is on the top of anyone else’s list but my candidate is………

Aisha Tyler
I think that Tyler has great qualifications beyond being a Straight Black Woman. She’s well known as an actress (Ghost Whisperer, Friends), stand-up comedian, host (the current incarnation of Whose Line Is It Anyway on The CW), podcast host (the Girl on Guy podcast) and daytime talk show co-host (The Talk) on CBS. And Les Moonves knows her because one of the other co-hosts on The Talk is Moonves’s wife Julie Chen. As I’ve said, I doubt that she’ll get the job, but I think she’d be a great choice.