Craig Ferguson Leads Late Night’s New Frontier

Craig Ferguson (CBS)

Craig Ferguson (CBS)

Taking a nod from Charlie Rose and Larry King, CBS ‘Late Late Show‘ host Craig Ferguson did his entire show last night without a television audience or a band.

“Hello everybody.  Wait a minute where’s the audience?  There is none,” Ferguson said kicking off his one-hour show.  “The audience machine isn’t working tonight.”

Ferguson’s only guest was British actor/comedian/director and recurring ‘Bones‘ cast member Stephen Fry.

The pair candidly joked about Ferguson’s early days working at a bar in London and his misconception of Fry as a privileged, silver spoon fed Ivy-league educated actor.  Ferguson commented that the idea of just talking to one other person without an audience made him feel “vulnerable.”

“They just talked and it was one of the best hours of TV I’ve seen in a while,” said Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker.

Ferguson was quick to point out that his “experiment” was nothing new and that his predecessor Tom Snyder, who was cranky, difficult and brilliant, was audience free for five years.

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“It was jarring at first, but you have to hand it to him, it was more intimate and laid back” said The Huffington Post’s Michael Glitz.

Ferguson explained that “the terrible thing unfolding on NBC” had driven him to rethink late night traditions and to try something new.

“This may upset a few people but I don’t care,” Ferguson opined about the show’s unique format.

This is just another step in Ferguson’s humble-yet noticeable rise to the top of the late night ranks.  Just weeks ago Robert Lloyd of the LA Times praised the host, saying: “The most interesting person on late night television is a 47-year-old Scottish reformed alcoholic, high school-dropout , drummer, actor, comic and novelist named Craig Ferguson.”

Judging from last’s night ground-breaking show Lloyd was right.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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