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Will late-night hosts ditch Zoom interviews after the pandemic?

  • CNN

    While some late-night interviews take place in person with social distancing, Zoom interviews are still a staple of pandemic late-night TV. "Now, with the gradual lifting of the restrictions the pandemic imposed, a different question looms: Will the shows go on the same way they used to?" asks Bill Carter, author of The Late Shift and executive producer of CNN docuseries The Story of Late Night. "It's unlikely. After all, genies don't crawl back into bottles. And cost considerations were already looming like a menacing storm over the future of late night. So it's likely some, or many, of the changes we have seen in late night over the past year will solidify into new conventions. That almost surely will be the case with guest interviews. If a guest really isn't coming to New York for a reason other than promoting his/her movie with Fallon, why pay the five-star hotel and the personal hair and makeup artists? Especially if it's not an A-lister we're talking about. A conversation on Zoom still has hazards — video or sound interruptions, chiefly. But mostly they work fine, and audiences have seen the rough edges to these exchanges and mostly rolled with them. It's true that guest interactions with hosts are much better when they are more than a forced chat. Fallon likes to get them into games with him, for example. And the 'repartee' that has generated some of late night's greatest moments is much harder to reproduce remotely. I also suspect that just seeing many of the most glamorous stars, not only from the neck up but in their full glory, will still have a strong appeal. It has been the habit in late night for some time that female stars, in particular, come to the shows dressed spectacularly, as though for a movie opening."

    TOPICS: Jimmy Kimmel, Coronavirus, Late Night