Smile Politely

This week in late-night

The landscape of late-night TV gets more colorful this week with the addition of two shows: The Wanda Sykes Show, which premiered Saturday night on Fox and Lopez Tonight, which begins tonight on TBS, both promise to deliver a new format of talk show.

I caught the premiere of Wanda Sykes Saturday night and I was rather impressed. Though it was not nearly as “original” as was hyped, Wanda is a great alternative to SNL if you’re staying in on a Saturday night. Her monologue is a refreshing return to true standup on the late night circuit. The guests are handpicked by Wanda, which keeps the show real, as opposed to watching an hour of clips and plugs with some comedy thrown in. Her panel discussions incorporate humor into current events, reminiscent of Real Time with Bill Maher. It may be too early to tell, but after one episode I give Wanda a solid thumbs-up.

The Wanda Sykes show airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. on Fox.

Lopez Tonight, which pledges to “bring the party back” to late-night television, will feature Eva Longoria-Parker, Kobe Bryant and Ellen DeGeneres in its premiere. I’ll make sure to check it out and report back next week.

Lopez Tonight premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on TBS.

As for the rest of the week, here’s what the regulars have to offer:

Monday: The Jay Leno Show features Diablo Cody (NBC, 9pm), catch Bill Murray on the Late Show with David Letterman (CBS, 10:35pm) and flip over to the Tonight Show to watch David Gray perform (NBC, 10:35pm).

Tuesday: In what should be a hilarious interview, Maria Shriver stops by the Colbert Report (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.).

Wednesday: Letterman’s got Norah Jones, and Bored to Death star Jason Schwartzman stops by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC, 11:35 p.m.).

Thursday: Speaking of Bored to Death, Al Gore is on with Conan (bad joke). And don’t forget to check out the show everyone should be watching, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on FX.

Friday: Speaking of It’s Always Sunny, you can catch Danny DeVito on Conan (probably shamelessly promoting the show).

Next week I’ll review the first week of Lopez Tonight and as always, give you the lineup of guests and music acts you won’t want to miss. (I promise, next week looks a lot better.)

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