Seth Meyers has landed a a pretty big-name guest to kick off his run as the latest host of Late Night, NBC’s 12:30 pm post-Tonight Show talk and comedy franchise. The vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, will take the first seat on Meyers’ couch.
Biden’s office confirmed that the likely 2016 Democratic presidential contender will help former Saturday Night Live head writer and performer Meyers inaugurate his new show on its debut broadcast February 24.
Seth Meyers will be the fourth host in the 32-year run of the NBC Late Night program. Previously occupied for eight years by interviewer Tom Snyder and his Tomorrow show, the 12:30 slot got a new format in 1982, created by NBC specifically for David Letterman, who was then a comedian much-admired by the network and by the host of its standard-bearing Tonight Show, Johnny Carson.
But Letterman had never found a home for his uniquely acerbic talents on TV. NBC gave him a morning show in 1980, but it proved a flop with viewers who weren’t in the mood for Letterman’s brand of sharp-edged satire with their morning coffee and eggs.
But the 12:30 slot proved perfect, when an audience of irreverent college kids and young people who shared Letterman’s sensibilities was still awake.
Letterman held down the slot until 1993 when he took a lucrative offer from CBS to go head-to-head with The Tonight Show and its new host Jay Leno. NBC then hired a previously unknown writer for Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons, Conan O’Brien, to take over Late Night. When NBC moved O’Brien into the Tonight Show chair, albeit for just a year, SNL alum Jimmy Fallon was granted the Late Night hosting mantle.
“We’re not trying to deconstruct the idea of what a late-night show is,” Meyers told Rolling Stone magazine. “We’re just trying to do a really good one.”
After Biden, Seth Meyers has a succession of highly recognizable guests booked for his first week. Among them, rapper and soon-to-be husband of Kim Kardashian Kanye West, star and creator of HBO’s Girls Lena Dunham, musician John Mayer and an elite duo of British actors, Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart.