1 9 8 8 – 2 0 0 1 (USA)
30 minute episodes
Looking for an inexpensive way to program late-late night, NBC launched this simple but engaging interview show hosted by youthful-looking (he was 39) sportscaster Bob Costas in 1988.
Each telecast was devoted to a single guest whose life was profiled with film clips and who then joined Bob. The guests were mostly TV, movie or music celebrities and sports stars, with a few newsmen and politicians thrown in. Among them: Paul McCartney, Steve Allen, Jerry Lewis, Mel Brooks, Chevy Chase, Tony Curtis, Billy Crystal, Martin Scorsese, Bob Seger, New York governor Mario Cuomo, Howard Stern, Charlton Heston, Wayne Gretzky, Valerie Harper (during her battle with NBC over Valerie’s Family), Rob Lowe, Sting, Joan Rivers, Morrissey, Susan Saint James, Gene Wilder, and news anchors Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and Dan Rather.
Costas was replaced in February 1994 by young comic Greg Kinnear, previously best known as the host of Talk Soup on the small E! Entertainment cable network. Greg opened each show with a “videologue” in which he commented on the day’s events and also featured short comedy bits and a letter from the previous night’s guest in addition to interviewing his single guest of the evening.
After Kinnear left in 1996 various fill-in hosts appeared until January 2000, when the spot was assumed by VH1 VJ Cynthia Garrett – a vision of “hip” with her quirky clothes, nose ring and long, crinkly hair. She was the first African American female to host a late-night network talk show.
During Costas’s tenure, the show was called Later with Bob Costas; with the arrival of Kinnear, it became Later with Greg Kinnear. After his departure, it was called simply Later.
The 30-minute show typically aired four nights a week at 1:30 am following Late Night with David Letterman from 1988 to 1993, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien from 1993 to 2001.
Bob Costas (1988 – 1994)
Greg Kinnear (1994 – 1996)
Cynthia Garrett (2000 – 20001)