Host with the most?

Col­bert is cool, but CBS missed chance to mix it up with less pre­dictable late-night choice

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Lynn Elber

LOS ANGELES — Con­grat­u­la­tions, Stephen Col­bert, on win­ning CBS’s Late Show gig. You’re bril­liantly funny, you’ve proven yourself in the Com­edy Cen­tral farm leagues, and odds are you will be a wor­thy suc­ces­sor to David Let­ter­man. But for­give us if we spend a few wist­ful mo­ments think­ing about what might have been. Noth­ing per­sonal here, but your anoint­ment is just so, well, pre­dictable. Yes, there are big bucks at stake, even in the shrink­ing world of rat­ings and ad­ver­tis­ing dol­lars that late-night TV has be­come. And CBS, the broad­est of the ma­jor broad­cast­ers with a strat­egy that aims for the most view­ers, not niche au­di­ences, is the least likely to take a chance. But the swift­ness of the net­work’s an­nounce­ment Thurs­day about Col­bert al­lowed lit­tle breath­ing room for on­line and wa­ter-cooler spec­u­la­tion, the kind that can be both juicy and il­lu­mi­nat­ing. There are other en­gag­ing en­ter­tain­ers around, whether they have or haven’t oc­cu­pied a talk-show chair. And did the last net­work late-night job likely to be open for years have to go to yet an­other man? And did it have to be an­other white guy? Here are a few who could have been con­tenders, wor­thy com­peti­tors to NBC’s Jimmy Fal­lon and ABC’s Jimmy Kim­mel: Jamie Foxx. Want en­ergy, con­fi­dence and a host’s ros­ter of A-list col­leagues a show can sum­mon at will? Here’s your man. Foxx is an Os­car-cal­i­bre movie star, as well as a co­me­dian and singer, with a win­ning un­pre­dictabil­ity that could lure new view­ers, es­pe­cially the ad­ver­tis­er­favoured young ones Fal­lon is draw­ing to Tonight. Ellen DeGeneres. In the post-Oprah Win­frey world of day­time talk, DeGeneres holds fast as queen bee de­spite heavy­weight chal­lengers, in­clud­ing Katie Couric. DeGeneres’s easy charm has trans­lated to the big­gest stage, host­ing the Academy Awards, so her main­stream cre­den­tials are proven. Plus, she can dance. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, to­gether or separately. They al­ways kill, whether on Satur­day Night Live, on their re­spec­tive sit­coms ( 30 Rock, Parks and Re­cre­ation) or on the Golden Globes, where they bring their sassy and oh-so-21st-century fe­male em­pow­er­ment vibe. Pic­ture that in late-night and try not to smile. Louis C.K. Who can deny that great standup co­me­di­ans can make great hosts? He’s a true orig­i­nal, a wily vet­eran of stage and sit­com but, at 46, still com­fort­ably within the age range of latenight’s new young guns who are fol­low­ing 60-some­things Let­ter­man and Jay Leno. Hey, Col­bert is 49 and he’s cool.

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