CBC Pitch: Late Night With Jian Ghomeshi



In the “late night wars” that spawned several new shows, a dramatically named book, and a marooned red head rescued by a competing network,  Canada has largely remained on the sidelines.  Late night shows haven’t had much of a run in Canada.  Our audiences have seemed content with tuning in to the Stewart/Colbert duo, Kimmel, Conan, Letterman, and Leno for their before bed comedy fix for, well, pretty much forever.

A few exceptions exist. Open Mike with Mike Bullard, for instance, ran on CTV for six seasons from 1997-2003. Ed the Sock, of course,  was a fairly popular late night staple  popping up on various networks like MuchMusic, CityTV, and CHCH since the mid 90s.  Both have since either left the air or abandoned the late night time slot, with no real replacements offered for Canadian viewers.  Canadian Daily Show  correspondents Jason Jones and Samantha Bee have been serving as long time “experts” on the country, and  with recent political developments hitting the news, like Rob Ford’s infamous crack scandal (which is still an awesome sentence to write), Canadians have been popping up in American late night programs with unusual frequency.

So where’s our late night perspective?  The answer, of course, is in the mornings.  And on the radio.  The Jian Ghomeshi-led daily program  Q on CBC Radio One would, in my mind, make for a perfect transplant to late night TV.  Q‘s eclectic blend of cultural curation, political investigation, and celebration of both rising and established musical (and comedic) acts would be a breath of fresh air for the late night spectrum.  With so many American late night shows doling out repetitive and rehearsed interviews, with actors and musicians responding to publicist approved softball questions, Jian’s unique knack for enlightening conversation would be nigh revolutionary.  Take any of his opening essays straight from his morning program, and Jian would immediately command attention with a monologue that could put any American host’s one liners to shame.  Even better, he has an impressive ability to control a live crowd, taking his show on the road across North America to frequently sold out audiences.

Q  does make the jump to TV, with interviews and performances from the radio broadcast filmed and edited for a shortened version on CBC’s QTV, but it’s largely just Jian and the guest of the day talking in the radio studio.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I certainly would tune in to a nightly Jian-led broadcast  over Leno, Letterman, Kimmel, and really any of the current late night hosts.  With Jimmy Fallon upping the ante on possible house bands in bringing The Roots to his program, why not get an incredible act to support Jian?  My vote goes to American musician Ryan Adams.  The pair share a mutual appreciation for one another other in one of the cooler celebrity bromances I’m aware of, and Adams is somewhat of a musical chameleon who could bring a great vibe to a late night show.  Or, if they wanted to stay Canadian, why not a reunion of Jian’s old band Moxy Fruvous?  Toronto born Stars could also serve as an impeccable fit. Member Torquil Campbell is already touting an engaging rapport with Ghomeshi in his regular contributions to Q with his Rant or Rave segment.

Campbell’s segment is the tip of the iceberg for potential segments on a late night program.  Q brings something different every day, whether through segments like Campbell’s Rant or Rave, the Q Sports or Media Panels, Mio Adilman’s Download Down-Lo, and many more.  With each segment, the broadcast offers new and unique perspectives on Canadian issues.  Bringing these segments to late night would offer a unique broadcast among the generically similar American options, while giving voice to important and interesting issues for Canada.

I say it’s time we bring a little depth, and a lot of Canadiana, to late night TV, and I can think of no one better than Jian Ghomeshi to champion a new style.  Having just released his first book, 1982, and with Q airing daily on CBC,  the enigmatic host is busier than ever.  But as his Iranian father would say, “that is great! Now please work harder, then.”

I know  I would watch, would you?


10 thoughts on “CBC Pitch: Late Night With Jian Ghomeshi”

  1. i listen Jian every evening, starts around 8pm here…. :) Great program! And with all the substance good for late night over all the useless rehearsed “banter” that now crowds it….


    1. I just wanted to mention that CBC tried The Hour with George Stromboulopoulus in the late night slot. The article left him out.

      1. Thanks for pointing that out. The Hour has jumped around to so many different timeslots. I’ve always considered it a prime-time show, but I know that it has aired in Late Night slots and that Strombo’s CNN show airs late night, but only on Fridays..

  2. It strikes me that this is a good idea; w/the proviso that neither CBC nor Jian would want to forsake Q on Radio 1 for an unproven concept.

    Perhaps the way to do this would be to have Jian take one month off Q, say July, and have 4 replacements try out on Q; while they try a short, 4-week run of ‘summer nights’ w/Jian Ghomeshi.

    If it went well, it would return by mid-fall as ‘late night’ or w/e; and if not, Jian would just be back on Q.

    1. I certainly wouldn’t want to lose Q, ideally there would be some way to figure out how to do both.

  3. I like Jian. He’s a good interviewer. He always seems genuinely interested in what his interview subjects have to say, while Strombo just seems like he’s waiting for them to stop talking so he can ask his next question.

  4. I like both Jian and Stromboulopoulus. Both are very attentive, intuitive and relate able interviewers, such a nice change from the American late night hosts who rarely give interviews with very much depth–too much focus on trying t make themselves sound good. Other than the occasional Conan and Stromboulopoulus, I watch no late night shows. I’m not much interested in those kinds of shows anyways.

  5. personally ,as far as jian g.goes with his charming wit and the SUPER-POP format of Q [esp. including those mimed-over-morality lessons on particularly important persons or events which are so duly and fervently expressed from time to time/either extolling greatness/or upping Canada -the-great/or downing crass commercialism-conservatism—I feel that jian ghomeshi,as intelligent and persuasive as everyone agrees he is or certainly must be—is a completely undeserving uninteresting bore—-.even though he is out there for us every day,trying to save whats left of cbc radio [which used to be so good] from harpers and flahertys chopping block–way too much self-hype jian,re-Q formats which sounds like one big commercial/why is that.am I missing the point here.—over and out.EH.from mr.magoo

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