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JAN
19
7 MOS

'Late Night's' Seth Meyers on Courting Hillary Clinton, Advice From Jimmy Fallon

"I'd love people that are big political players who have a lot of influence in what's going on in the world, but we're open to everybody," Meyers told TCA members of his forthcoming late-night show.

TELEVISION: Seth Meyers
Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers readily admits he's as excited about his forthcoming late-night show as he is nervous.

On hand Sunday to tout the new entry at the Television Critics Association's semiannual press tour, the long-time Saturday Night Live head writer acknowledged Late Night is still a work in progress. With five weeks to go, Meyers is still settling on the precise format of his 12:35 a.m. show, as well as plans for a likely house band, a theme song and the first week's lineup outside of his first guest, former Weekend Update co-anchor Amy Poehler.

In Meyers' defense, he has yet to give up his duties on SNL -- and he doesn't plan to until Feb. 1, three weeks before his new series bows. "I feel like someone with two families trying to keep them both separate. It's very stressful," he joked of the juggling act, acknowledging that recent months have consisted of him running back and forth between the two projects. In recent weeks, he's been having pitch sessions with his newly formed writing staff and he will do test shows, which will allow him to hone his skills as an interviewer.

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What he is clear on is his desire to use his position on the booking food chain to his advantage: "We don't just want to have guests that the audience knows, but that the audience could get to know," he said, noting that he anticipates a guest list that will include celebrities, authors, athletes and politicians. Asked about his ideal guest following the panel, Meyers suggested Hillary Clinton "would be great," adding, "I'd love people that are big political players who have a lot of influence in what's going on in the world, but we're open to everybody."

Meyers acknowledged that he intends to "steal" from the Weekend Update format where he can. To that end, he has brought Update head writer Alex Baze aboard as the new show's head writer and has hired a team of writers who can double as performers on the show. He reiterated his plans to sprinkle his desk bits with fake characters as he has done on Update: "I like being in a two shot with someone that's funnier than I am," he said, adding that he will be creating a new suite of characters, rather than rely on those he had created for SNL.

As his Feb. 24 premiere date approaches, he will do his best to keep the advice of predecessor Jimmy Fallon in mind. He revealed to a smaller gaggle of reporters that Fallon cautioned him to be patient. "He said, 'you won't know what the show is on the first night; you'll have a better sense in six months, in a year,'" Meyers recalled. "'So just try to do it with the same integrity week in and week out.'"