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Seth Meyers’ late-night planning is underway.
On hand Wednesday to promote his Hulu animated series The Awesomes at the Television Critics Association’s press tour, he couldn’t help but be barraged with questions about his other gigs, both at Saturday Night Live and at his upcoming NBC late-night show.
With regard to SNL’s recent talent exodus, Meyers and his Awesomes co-creator (and SNL veteran) Mike Shoemaker suggested they weren’t at all worried. In fact, both noted that “rebuilding” years in the past have made for some of the show’s most exciting. Meyers pointed to the 2005-06 season in which Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader and Andy Samberg first started on the sketch show following the departure of several key castmembers — including Tina Fey — as a personal favorite. Added Shoemaker, who will produce Meyers’ late-night show as he has Jimmy Fallon‘s 12:35 a.m. effort: “It’s thrilling because we know the new people, and we’re introducing them to you.”
Meyers is not as confident with regard to his own show, though he quipped that the “really terrified” feelings have subsided — at least for now. With the new show not expected to launch until after the Olympics, he’s more focused at this point on assembling a writing staff than he is on the intricacies of the show.
Speaking to a smaller gaggle of reporters following his Hulu panel, Meyers noted that he anticipates his show being more writer-centric, with many of his writers also performers who can be involved onscreen as well. “I like being the straight man,” he said of a dynamic seen often on SNL. And while there will be “Weekend Update” elements — complete with characters and fake news — to his show, he said he has no plans to abandon the traditional monologue. (He will remain at SNL‘s Weekend Update desk “until they get me a new desk,” he joked.)
Meyers was careful to note that he doesn’t see this show as his opportunity to reinvent the late-night genre. That’s not to say his show won’t try to differentiate itself in an increasingly crowded field by catering to Meyers’ strengths. Among them: his penchant for topical humor, which will enable him to incorporate politics and current events into his act. With so many late-night shows based in New York, he suggested that he’ll likely draw talent from those worlds in part out of necessity. “We’re going to have to interview interesting people more than [it is that] people are clamoring to see them,” he quipped.
While much still is being worked out, including whether the show will air four live shows a week, he said he’s “incredibly flattered” by the support he’s received from nearly all of his late-night competition. But he was clear that this show wasn’t some lifelong goal of his as it was for Conan O’Brien and some of his peers. According to Meyers, the plan was hatched very quickly, with the network coming to a conclusion in two to three weeks. As for him? “When you’re at SNL,” he said, “you don’t have much time to think about what’s next.”
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