When Sue Trowbridge spots something anomalous in the world of late night guest line-ups, she knows of what she speaks.
For the last 23 years, Trowbridge has published her late night line-ups page, providing fans and industry insiders alike with an exhaustive, frequently updated list of which guests are scheduled to appear on which shows (and when).
So people took notice when Trowbridge tweeted last Friday that she'd noticed something seemingly unprecedented -- four late night shows are listing a "Special TBA Guest " this Thursday Night, August 8th.
So a lot of the late night talk shows -- including Colbert, Conan, Fallon, Seth Meyers -- are advertising a "surprise" guest or "special" guest who will appear on Thursday, August 8. Who could possibly be appearing on talk shows across multiple networks? pic.twitter.com/XheB9Fiunc— Sue Trowbridge (@trow125) August 2, 2019
Since that initial tweet, Jimmy Kimmel Live! has added a Special Guest TBA to his lineup, as well. And as Trowbridge points out, Conan O'Brien appears to be interrupting three weeks of repeats to his new "Special Guest" episode this Thursday.
Trowbridge told us this is the first time she can recall more than one of the talkers listing an unnamed special guest (let alone five of them, across four networks).
So what's going on? Who are all these surprise guests? (Or could it be the same person on all the shows?)
At this point, speculation is all over the map. Trowbridges's own best guess is that it's multiple big name celebrities promoting the launch of a joint charitible initiative, while others have wondered if it might be a political announcement (could Oprah be throwing her hat in the ring after all?), something Marvel-related, or the surprise launch of a new album from a Beyonce or another pop superstar.
For now, the networks aren't talking (nor are the various hosts). As they say on TV, stay tuned...
Jed Rosenzweig is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Primetimer. Follow him on Twitter @jedrosenzweig.