11:36am PT by Michael O'Connell
Samantha Bee Won't Be "a Lady Behind a Desk" in Late-Night Show
Samantha Bee will likely be a welcome addition to late-night when her TBS talker bows on Feb. 8. Since Chelsea Handler signed off at E! in 2014, the turnover-happy talk arena has been without a single female voice. That is a vacancy Bee seems happy to fill.
"I do not have any theories," she told a reporter who asked her why there currently aren't any women in late-night. "We're quite puzzled by it as well, but we're happy to take up the mantle."
The "we" here is Bee and Full Frontal showrunner Jo Miller. The pair fielded questions Thursday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour, and shined a bit of a light on what their show will entail. They also made clear what it won't entail — anything resembling a traditional talker.
"She's not going to be a lady behind a desk," explained Miller. "She's going to move around ... and we're not having guests, so we can have this lovely third act where we can do whatever we want."
With a month to go before the weekly series' premiere, they also don't have a full episode to screen. But Bee, who spent 12 years as a Daily Show correspondent, showed that she's not straying from the reported segments that audiences are used to seeing her do on Comedy Central.
"Full Frontal is going to have a pretty heavy field element, because that's work I was passionate about," she said. "We're expanding that world. We're going to mix up the style of things and evolve the medium, but that's the plan."
Bee was quick to clarify: "I don't feel like a reporter ... I love talking to people. It's kind of the best part of the job. I learn something from every person I talk to."
Subjects being tackled include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' lack of preparation for the coming wave of women veterans, the rise of Islamophobia and the orientation that Syrian refugees are being tasked with completing before arriving in the U.S. "I just went to Jordan, actually, and we shot a whole bunch of stuff there over Christmas," said Bee. "I don't want to give the whole thing. We learned that there's a cultural orientation class before your resettlement. It's about four days long. We took it, at least a part of it. We have some great footage."
As for that guest-free third act, Bee and Miller seem to be leaving their options open for now — though Bee said it could leave room for improv or anything with "whimsy."