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6 Shows like The Late Show: New Kids on the Block

Will Howell-Cornes itcherRightfully at the top of this Golden Age of Television sit hour-­long dramas, but late night talk shows have also been undergoing a shake-­up and resurgence in recent months and years. The former kings of comedy, David Letterman and Jay Leno, are no more handing their battered crowns to a new breed of chat ­show host, so grab your cocoa and wind down for the night as we run down a few shows like ‘The Late Show’… ~ Will Howell-Cornes

The King Is Dead, Long Live the King…

In a similar way to ‘Doctor Who’ reincarnating, as society evolves, chat­ show hosts must be updated and replaced ­ While today’s shows will still always feature actors and pop­ stars plugging their latest films and albums, the halcyon days of Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson are long gone. Today’s talk­ show formats have all come on leaps and bounds… the names of the following shows will be familiar, but the faces and messages may well have changed since the last time you tuned in.

Since September 2015, the latest incarnation of one of TV’s most revered shows is ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’. His stints with Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’ and his own spin-­off ‘The Colbert Report’ make for much more politically-­aware viewing and his no-nonsense, dead-­pan style makes him the ideal man to fill David Letterman’s more punchline-orientated boots.


Shows Similar to ‘The Late Show’…

‘The Late Late Show With James Corden’ (CBS, 2015)

James Corden’s rise from playing Smithy in English sitcom ’Gavin and Stacey’ to hosting his own U.S. chat-­show has been nothing short of meteoric. Always hilarious, charming and humble, cuddly Corden took over this late night slot from Scotsman Craig Ferguson and whether he’s interviewing, performing alongside greats like Matt Damon or singing carpool karaoke with the stars, his talent and creativity shines through.

Similarity Match: 85%
Lighter in tone, CBS delivers another hour of fun and laughter after Colbert’s show ends. It may continue into the small hours, but it’s worth it.

‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ (NBC, 2014)

Johnny Carson and Jay Leno helmed ‘The Tonight Show’ for fifty years but now there is a new kid on the block -­ former ‘Saturday Night Live’ alumni Jimmy Fallon. And in my opinion, he’ll wear the crown for many a year. Fallon’s incumbency (accompanied by his hip-­hop band ‘The Roots’) returned the show to its spiritual home in Manhattan’s Ed Sullivan Theater. With epic Lip-­Sync Battles and guest appearances from frequent and much-­loved collaborator, Justin Timberlake, Fallon deservedly sits near the top of this list.

Similarity Match: 80%
Of course nothing is more similar to ‘The Late Show’ than Stephen Colbert’s late night series, but if you’re looking for a much more fun, wild and entertaining show, this rival show has injected a much needed energy boost since the days of Jay Leno.

‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’ (Comedy Central, 2015)

‘The Late Show’ isn’t the only show to return in autumn 2015 with a brand new host as Trevor Noah stepped into Jon Stewart’s ‘The Daily Show’ role. After a bumpy start, the South African comedian has finally found his feet, endearing himself and raising important issues to the people of America… but for those of you still missing Jon Stewart, he will return to HBO in 2016.

Similarity Match: 75%
Trevor Noah’s delivery style and quick climb to the top will never feel quite as comfortable as Letterman, Leno and Stewart, but his exotic background makes a refreshing change to an age old formula.

‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ (HBO, 2014)

If informative political satire is what you’re after, this is the late night show for you. Ex-‘The Daily Show’ comedy correspondent and writer John Oliver impressed TV execs so much when he guest presented in Jon Stewart’s absence, the dour, monotone yet hilarious and astute English satirist was bound to get his own show.

Similarity Match: 70%
This weekly, Sunday night half­-hour show is less chat­ show than ‘The Late Show’ and much more serious but brilliant all the same.


If You Like ‘The Late Show’, You Will Like…

Late night shows always keep me awake, but those four shows should send you off to the land of nod with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. If you’re like me and Jimmy Fallon et al are just too exciting and guffaw-­inducing to go to sleep on, stream them the next day instead. However, if you’re after more hard-­hitting, meaningful entertainment before you turn in for the night -­ you should check out these shows similar to ‘The Late Show’.

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (Comedy Central, 2015)

More intelligent, polemic satire with another Jon Stewart collaborator. Larry Wilmore and his panel of guests discuss current news issues, play games and “represent underrepresented voices out there.”

More serious than ’The Late Show’, Wilmore’s smart series packs some serious punch, both politically and comedically.

‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ (HBO, 2003)

Bill Maher follows up his old show ‘Politically Incorrect’ by interviewing academics, politicians and celebrities in a show that doesn’t hold back when setting the record straight.

Friday night political activism with acerbic comedian and modern day philosopher Bill Maher.


The Talk­ Show Kings

Whether you’re after the all-­singing, all-­dancing silliness of Jimmy Fallon or whether the anti-religious views of Bill Maher are more up your street, I think we’ve covered nearly all bases and am certain there must be something in this list that raises a titter and stimulates your brain-­computer. Happy viewing!

You can leave your comments below…

Will Howell-Cornes is a writer, photographer and TV editor. He’s been trying to write three TV shows for a while now, which he hopes will be like ‘Lost’ ‘Hannibal’ and ‘The Leftovers’. He used to be a stand-up comedian but stopped being funny around July 2012.
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