Late-Night Showdown: After 'SNL,' Seth Meyers Starts His Next Big Test

The former "Saturday Night Live" head writer and "Weekend Update" anchor enters the shark tank with his "Late Night" debut at 12:35 a.m. Monday.
Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers makes the jump from his "dream job" at Saturday Night Live to Late Night host beginning Monday night.

Like his lead-in Jimmy Fallon, Meyers has firmed up a splashy premiere-week lineup, relying on headline-makers (Kanye West, Lena Dunham), the White House (Vice President Joe Biden) and old friends (Amy Poehler) for Week 1 of a newly-forged 12:35 a.m. battle with new time slot rival, Craig Ferguson.

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To be fair, 12:35 a.m. lacks the pressures of 11:35 p.m., where Fallon's Tonight Show, David Letterman's Late Show and Jimmy Kimmel's Jimmy Kimmel Live! vie for supremacy. To compare, Late Night garners about $70 million a year in ad revenue to about $125 million at Tonight Show, according to Kantar Media. NBC executives have also insisted that they will give Meyers time to grow -- a priceless commodity in a late-night landscape that also includes niche cable players (i.e. Comedy Central's The Daily Show and The Colbert Report). And unlike the Tonight Show, which jump-starts at 11:35 p.m., Late Night ratings will partially depend on Fallon's audience, which will likely dip in Week 2 without help from the Winter Olympics.

While all eyes will be on Meyers' first week, Ferguson has ramped up his bookings -- front-loading the week with notable TV stars (New Girl's Zooey Deschanel, Two and a Half Men's Ashton Kutcher, Bates Motel's Vera Farmiga) as a countermove. The Glasgow native is even banking on Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire, a little-known Scottish rock band (at least in the States), for a five-day stay. The last time the Late Late Show did a similar residency was in December 2012 with Richie Sambora.

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Meyers' Late Night will still follow a traditional talk-show format -- monologues and interviews with guests -- but don't expect the former SNL "Weekend Update" anchor to play beer pong with Patrick Stewart, for instance, or say, karaoke with West, things Fallon would have done on his iteration of Late Night (and will likely continue on Tonight Show). Will viewers get on board with Meyers' take on Late Night? The road to answering that question begins now.

Below, find the late-night rundown for this week, broken down by show.

Monday, Feb. 24
Late Night (NBC): Amy Poehler, Vice President Joe Biden, A Great Big World
Late Late Show (CBS): Zooey Deschanel, Vera Farmiga, Olympian Julia Mancuso, Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire

Tuesday, Feb. 25
Late Night: Kanye West, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, author Robyn Doolittle (Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story)
Late Late Show: Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire

Wednesday, Feb. 26
Late Night: Kelly Ripa, Brad Paisley
Late Late Show: Alice Eve, Bojana Novakovic, Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire

Thursday, Feb. 27
Late Night: Lena Dunham, Anthony Mackie, John Mayer Trio
Late Late Show: Julia Stiles, author Dave Itzkoff, Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire

Friday, Feb. 28
Late Night: Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, Sophia Bush, comedian Michael Che
Late Late Show: Sarah Chalke, Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire

Late Night With Seth Meyers premieres Monday, Feb. 24, at 12:35 a.m. on NBC.

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