FergAs we near the end of the Variety pre-nomination Emmy preview coverage, our attention turns to the variety, music and comedy sector, with the main story focusing on how latenight hosts and their producers collaborate even more than you might expect. Here's how it begins:

Back in May 2008, when Michael Naidus was elevated to producer for "Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson," the Scottish funnyman told Variety: "I couldn't be more pleased for Michael. His years of Machiavellian sneakiness have finally paid off."

Regular viewers of the show are familiar with Ferguson's deft use of mock outrage and sarcastic needles directed at Naidus, who operates on the floor just off stage. But few get to glimpse the hours of pre-taping collaboration between those two and others that go into each night's telecast. Similar relationships exist throughout the latenight talkshow circuit.

Capsules on many of the contenders follow.



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