Later (talk show)

Also known as 'Later with Bob Costas
Later with Greg Kinnear'
Presented by Bob Costas (1988–1994)
Greg Kinnear (1994–1996)
Guest hosts (1996–2000)
Cynthia Garrett (2000–2001[1])
Country of origin United States
Running time 30 minutes
Original network NBC
Original release August 22, 1988 – January 18, 2001 (original episodes; SCTV episodes until January 4, 2002)
Followed by Last Call with Carson Daly

Later was a nightly half-hour-long talk show that ran on NBC from 1988 until 2001. Later typically aired for half an hour at 1:30 a.m. following Late Night with David Letterman from 1988 to 1993, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien from 1993 to 2001. It was succeeded by Last Call with Carson Daly in 2002.

Nominations and awards

During Bob Costas' tenure as host, the show won the 1993 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Series. It was nominated in the same category in 1992, and in the Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design and Title Sequences category (currently called the Main Title Design category) in 1989.


1988–1994: Bob Costas

Sportscaster Bob Costas hosted Later from 1988 until 1994. Created and produced by Dick Ebersol, the program in this period was something of a break from the typical American TV talk show format of the era, featuring Costas and a single guest having an intense conversation for the entire half hour, without a house band, opening monologue, studio audience or guest musical performances, similar to what Tom Snyder had done on Tomorrow in a similar timeslot during the 1970s and would again do on the The Late Late Show in the mid-1990s. Later was taped in New York City at GE Building's famous Studio 8H, and occasionally in Los Angeles. Costas interviewed a single guest for 45 minutes to an hour in real time before turning the material over to editors, who condensed it down to 22 minutes plus commercials.[2] On several occasions, an interview with a particularly noteworthy guest (examples include Paul McCartney, Don Rickles and Martin Scorsese) was shown over multiple nights. These in-depth discussions won Costas much praise for his interviewing skills. Costas resided in St. Louis all through his run on Later, flying to New York City once per week to shoot a week worth of shows, recording all four in a single day.

Guests during the first week on air were Linda Ellerbee, Gary Coleman and Billy Crystal. The show occasionally had guest hosts substituting for Costas, including Pat Sajak, Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, and Tom Snyder. Snyder's 1991 interview with Howard Stern, who came to plug his Crucified by the FCC CD boxset was particularly notable since the host and the guest, while mostly remaining cordial and civil, aggressively and cynically expressed dislike for each other throughout the interview, often engaging in heated, testy, and uncomfortable exchanges.[3] Though the two met face to face for the first (and last) time on this occasion, they had a prior record of mutual attack on their respective media outlets that continued after the show.

During one of his last shows Costas said personal considerations led to his decision to leave Later as he didn't want to move his family to New York and he felt worn out by the workload consisting of his obligations with NBC Sports and his duties on Later.[4]

1994–1996: Greg Kinnear

Following Costas' departure in February 1994, Later reverted to a conventional talk show format, hosted by young television personality and aspiring actor Greg Kinnear. The show relocated to Los Angeles, where it was taped at NBC Studios in Burbank, California, featuring an opening monologue, studio audience, and comedy bits as well as quick one-segment interview with contemporary TV and movie personalities plugging their projects. Simultaneous to his duties on Later, Kinnear continued hosting Talk Soup on E! as well as fostering his budding acting career. Sometime during 1995, he quit Talk Soup and in December of the same year the movie Sabrina opened, a big budget motion picture remake in which Kinnear had a notable supporting role. The favourable exposure led to more movie offers for him and it wasn't long before he quit Later.

1996–2000: Guest hosts

After Kinnear's departure for a film career in 1996, the network struggled to find a permanent replacement. Until 1998, the program featured a 'guest host of the week' format which was heavily dependent on performances by stand-up comedians, somewhat matching the format of the time of Friday Night (which aired instead of Later on that evening). Friday Night host Rita Sever was the most consistent guest host during this period of time. Other guest hosts came from just about any facet of public life in the United States, including such unlikely hosts as supermodel Cindy Crawford.

2000–2001: Cynthia Garrett

After guest hosting "Later" twice in December 1999, NBC's press release announcing Garrett as its permanent host saying;

"The show attracted its largest audience in nine months in the key adult 18-49 demographic"[5]

The program settled on former VH1 VJ Cynthia Garrett as permanent host on January 31, 2000 interviewing her (brother) Lenny Kravitz.[6][7] Returning to the show's initial Bob Costas-led format Garrett interviewed guests such as, Laurence Fishburne, Joe Montana, Angela Bassett, Leah Remini and Magic Johnson.

The program was canceled in December 2000, with the final episode airing in January 2001.[1] Garrett became an on-air personality for the then-new TV Guide Channel. Around this time, NBC began to negotiate with Carson Daly to take over the Later timeslot, but this would not happen for well over a year.

2001–2002: Later presents SCTV

Following the end of the talk show, the time slot was used for time- and content-edited repeats of the Canadian sketch comedy SCTV, a show which had previously aired on NBC from 1981 through 1983. A new voice-over introduction by Rita Sever plugged the program as "Later presents SCTV", but the series was otherwise identical to the syndicated SCTV repeats that had been airing for years.

In 2001, NBC announced that MTV VJ Carson Daly would be the new host of Later. However, when Daly took over the time slot in January 2002, the "Later" name was retired and the show went on the air as Last Call with Carson Daly.

See also


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