Kinnear to bow Feb. 14 on ‘Later’

New NBC “Later” talkshow host Greg Kinnear will take over the latenight gig for Bob Costas Feb. 14, the network announced Wednesday.

Although the half-hour interview program will continue with its one-guest format, NBC Entertainment prez Warren Littlefield said in a statement that it would evolve as Kinnear “creates hisown identity and brings his unique comedic talents to his role.”

Kinnear, who will continue as host of “Talk Soup” for cable’s E! Entertainment Television, was named to the NBC post in November. The web originally planned a January bow but didn’t specify a date.

Costas, who recently re-signed with NBC for a multiyear deal estimated at $ 2 .5 million annually (Daily Variety, Dec. 17), will tape his final “Later” episodes to air the week of Feb. 7. He has been “Later” host for five years.

With the change in hosts, the NBC Prods. show will shift from New York to Burbank, where it will be taped before a studio audience.

The web announced that Morris Abraham has been hired to produce and direct “Later With Greg Kinnear.”

Abraham has been involved in producing and directing pay TV specials with Howie Mandel, as well as a recent Showtime spec with comedian Louie Anderson.

His directing credits also include “In Living Color,””Vicki!,””The Joan Rivers Show” and a latenight pilot for “Last Call,” Brandon Tartikoff’s new syndicated show for MCA TV.

As reported, Costas will remain NBC’s top sportscaster, contribute to the web’s news division, including “NBC Nightly News” and the weekly newsmag “Now,” and do occasional primetime specs.

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