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Craig Kilborn hopes to bring his old fans to his new show, 'The Kilborn File'


It's been six years since Craig Kilborn caught his fans and the industry off guard by walking away from his job as host of CBS' "The Late Late Show." Now he's attempting a comeback with a new show that is being rolled out on Fox TV stations in several big cities across the country, including locally on KTTV-TV Los Angeles Channel 11.

Kilborn, who first came to prominence as a wisecracking ESPN "Sports Center" anchor and then went on to put Comedy Central on the late-night television map with "The Daily Show," returns as host of "The Kilborn File," a half-hour topical comedy show. He'll have a female sidekick in former child actress Christine Lakin and also will have interviews and his trademark five questions.

Kilborn's show will be a humorous look at the news, along with the obligatory star interviews and a roundtable discussion of the day's headlines. But don't look for Kilborn to go down the same road that Jon Stewart took at "The Daily Show."

"We'll cover big news stories but not in a way where we're taking sides," said Michael Dugan, Kilborn's co-executive producer. "We will make fun of people but not in a sniping political way."

Not only does Kilborn have to recapture his fan base, he also will have to do it in a time period when they may not be accustomed to watching his style of show. See, "The Kilborn File" is not another late-night show -- it'll air in the early evening hours. Locally, he'll be on at 6:30. In other cities, he'll be on between 7 and 8 p.m.

Traditionally, those hours are home to game shows, sitcom reruns and magazine shows such as "Entertainment Tonight" and "Access Hollywood." The industry wisdom has been that deviations from those genres won't work.

But there is a bit of a drought when it comes to sitcom reruns -- long the staple for Fox stations. Although it's easy to dismiss the chances of a show that might seem more at home in late night, local television stations and the syndication companies making the shows for them need to start taking a gamble.

"What we're trying really has never been done before," said Frank Cicha, senior vice president of Fox TV Stations. "You make a bet here and it doesn't come up, you’ve lost a lot of money."

"The Kilborn File" will have a six-week run. If the numbers are promising, Twentieth Television, the show's distributor, will look to roll it out nationally next year.

Kilborn, who said in an interview he had grown tired of the repetitiveness of late-night TV, had been taking it easy for the last few years. Besides working on his new show, he also has a sitcom idea he's been developing. He also was relaxing with his time off, and it showed during a recent TV appearance. 

"I enjoyed retirement the right way ... linguine con vongole, red wine and plenty of truffle cheese. It was my Orson Welles stage." He's since lost 15 pounds and, in his words, is back to his "slender self -- I feel like a French woman."

For more on Craig Kilborn and his new show, see our story in Monday's Los Angeles Times.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Craig Kilborn on the set of "The Kilborn File." Credit: Roger Erickson / Twentieth Television

Comments () | Archives (23)

Craig Kilborn has fans?

yeah but they took out the simpsons for his stupid show. bring back the simpsons and move kilbourn to 7 just dont touch the simpsons

Kilborn DID NOT "put Comedy Central on the late-night television map with 'The Daily Show.'" That show was largely unsuccessful --and very uninteresting-- until Jon Stewart began to host it. And Kilborn DID NOT leave his CBS show for noble reasons, he wanted a LOT more money. But the drubbing he was getting every night from NBC's Conan O'Brien didn't make the CBS execs feel like they should be forking over more money to him.

Craigers is too sophisticated for most people. He's one of the funniest comedians out there. The people that complained about him didn't get it. They just didn't get the humor. They're too dumb.

Great new show. He's awesome at this type of show. Glad it;s on at 6:30. I'll ef. keep watching it. (DVR'd with a season pass)

I agree with Kat - he is a certain type of host and I enjoy his humor - it's irreverent and smart. And sorry pal - you may not have liked it but Kilborn's Daily Show WAS a HIT and he hosted it for THREE years before Letterman's company lured him away to take over the Late, Late Show. Go on and be a hater but why are you here if you hate him so much? I saw the first show tonight and it was hysterical.

kilborn put comedy central on the map with the daily show - tv guide named it best late night comedy while kilborn hosted. on the map!
walked away from late night and it wasn't about money - he was offered a ton.
let's grow up people.
kilborn remains one of the best interviewers, smoothest broadcasters, and all-around clever, funny hosts. welcome back kilby!!!

Hmmm, do you really want to place your bet on a guy who "walked away" from his last show?

I didn't mean to start an argument about this; clearly some of you really like Kilborn. I don't hate the guy, I just find his humor dull and self-oriented.


bring back THE SIMPSONS, this show sucks!!!

what is this killbourn crap, u put this crappy, most stupid show ive ever seen and take out the best tv show in the world. your lucky i dont know you killbourn, this is wrong and it has to be stopped. fox get ready to hear some harsh words from simpsons lovers, bring it back, dump the crap

Big fan of Kilborn....would like to know when i can see his show in the Houston area. I have been looking for it since Monday, June 28th. Can someone please tell me where and when it is on in this area?

Kind of a tw4t. I mean, I remember TDS before Stewart, and it wasn't bad.

You have 2-3 good jobs you walk away from...seems stupid.

first they cancel family guy for years,now they pick this garbage over the simpsons....fox is run by idiots.

Sorry to all you Jon Stewart lovers but this is the TRUTH, Stewart is a bad comedian and a bad writer, he makes the show work the way the producers want because he takes orders well and is far left wing in his thought patterns. However the show itself is not that funny, When Kilborne was host it was FUNNY, and it had the same crowd as Beevis and Butthead, I know this because the Original Daily show was popular with teenagers back then.

ITs sort of like this, With Kilborne it was the original Van Halen, With Jon Stewart it was like the Sammy Hagar years, more adults watch, but its less cool... or not cool at all.

Craig Kilborn: so tired of the repetitiveness of late-night TV, that he's bringing its worst features into prime-time in some markets. He's so yesterday that his upcoming guests figure to be Kato Kaelin, Urkel, and the kid from Jerry Maguire. And who cares anyway?

Oh, and to the genius suggesting Jon Stewart is such a terrible comedian:

How many Emmys has Kilborn won?

Game, set, match, fail.

Much preferred "the Daily Show" with Kilborn. I hope his new show does well. I like Jon Stewart, and usually agree with his views, but he is so overrated. The Daily Show in its current version is very hit-or-miss and seems to rely on someone viewing hours of tape of Fox News for a gothcha moment, or Jon dragging something out which is not that funny by mugging it up.

Hah... Right. Kilborn's run on The Daily Show was the best, that's why Stewart's run has three times the audience numbers Kilborn had.

Kilborn is a bright nice guy with the homespun likability reminiscent of Carson. The type of easy going gent who doesn't take himself, guests or current events too seriously. In short, the mensch that you want for late night. But he's prone to get bored. And that boredom can cost him careers. Unless he secures a niche and sticks with it in order to regain his audience, he'll soon find himself out of the loop. And it's sad, because he's at the top of my list of favorite talk show hosts. By the way, sitcom aspirations won't fly due to new age Hollywood's lack of inclusiveness. So just find the right host gig and grow old with it and your dog.

just so i don't start wwIII, let me say i like kilborn but talk about a guy that makes bad career moves. i like stewart as well but agree he is over-rated by a lot. most over rated talk show person....bill maher. well, when did the average american viewer have much brains either. the dumb leading the dumber.

btw. the simpsons is the best show on tv? this is what i'm talking about in my previous post.

I didn't get to see this show. Miss you Craig. You are so....cool and exciting.


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