Craig Kilborn, who anchored an early incarnation of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” for two years in the 1990s, is returning to television with a show similar in tone to the current Jon Stewart version.
Produced by Twentieth Television, half-hour “The Kilborn File” will have a six-week run on Fox Television Station O&Os in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Phoenix, Detroit and Austin, Texas, beginning June 28. Depending upon the city, show will air at 6:30, 7 or 7:30 p.m. and replace the current syndie sitcom airing at that timeslot.
Kilborn was host on CBS’ “The Late Late Show” for five years and was often talked about as a possible latenight fixture but left the Eye in 2004. He has been off the air since. Before hosting “The Daily Show,” Kilborn was a popular anchor on ESPN’s signature show “SportsCenter.”
In “The Kilborn Files” the host will offer opinions on pop culture and current events. He’ll also have guests and a “power panel” that will weigh in on issues of the day.
While Twentieth wasn’t specifically looking for a show that offered a humorous take on current events, Kilborn pitched the yakker and found the studio very interested.
“From a conceptual standpoint, this is his baby,” Frank Cicha, senior VP of programming for Fox Television Stations, told Daily Variety . “He delivered on every comic concept he described to us. It’s very well thought out. Comedy is hard, and doing it five days a week is near impossible, but enough was delivered. You knew there was something there.”
Cicha also said the comparisons to “The Daily Show” may be premature. And, with “The Daily Show” on basic cable, Stewart and his team have more leeway in terms of language and content than Kilborn would have on Fox’s O&Os.
“I’m not sure it’ll be as political as that,” he said. “I don’t see it going in that direction. It might be less politics and more pop culture.”
Show, produced by Lon Rosen, will tape in Los Angeles before a live audience.