×

Vibe

The technical glitches that marred the first two nights of "Vibe," signs that perhaps Columbia TriStar's new latenight talker wasn't quite ready, were pretty much history by night three when the energy level found a healthy hip-hop stride. The show is relying heavily on tried-and-true talker trademarks of couch and chair with an upbeat house band; its unique touch is the inclusion of two musical segments that get the show away from the couch for much-needed breathers. But therein lies the problem. Host Chris Spencer hasn't exhibited much of a personality and his interviewing style is little more than a collection of pandering and glad-handing. His comedy is tired at times (what if gang members feuded by dancing as in "West Side Story") and any pop culture reference requiring pre-1980 knowledge is greeted with silence. The alleged aim is hipness, which means Spencer can do jokes about basketball star Allen Iverson, a target probably too obscure for Dave's or Jay's crowd; that the jokes aren't funny is what will be remembered longer.

With:
Quincy Jones, Bill Clinton, Anthony Edwards, Brandy, Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Blackstreet with Slash, Kirk Franklin and God's Prophet, Whoopi Goldberg, Tyson, Salt-N-Pepa, Vivica A. Fox, Aaliyah, Lacy Chabert, Demi Moore, Wu Tang Clan, Naomi Campbell, Alex Thomas.

The bookings are pretty much contemporary established stars — black musicians, actors, Demi Moore, a supermodel and a comedian — who are given free rein to plug recent efforts. And Spencer is clueless in directing an interview, figuring that constantly changing the subject will hold the aud’s short attention span. He allowed Brandy to explain the plot of “Cinderella.” Vivica A. Fox spilled the details on karaoke. Teen singer Aaliyah gave Spencer a gift basket full of Aaliyah promo items. Salt-N-Pepa recited a list of upcoming guests that Spencer had just finished reading. Guests might be enjoying themselves, but as television, couch segs are deadly.

Debut episode began with exec producer Quincy Jones interviewing a tape of President Clinton. What could have been clever turned into a rambling position speech on America’s youth. Jones, who made one other appearance, has trouble with cue cards and fails to deliver on his image as a cultural benefactor. Taped bits that poked fun at Spencer’s anonymity and the show’s undecided direction were far too obvious.

Vibe’s success as a magazine comes through its diversity; the TV show is showing itself as a more mainstream version. While it doesn’t have the wacky foolishness of a “Def Comedy Jam,” it doesn’t feel like a celebration of black or urban culture. Snippets of older black stars appearing on TV in the ’60s, it is hoped, are laying a foundation for what “Vibe” can become — a show that provides exposure to new young stars as well as the artists who didn’t have a venue for their talents in the ’70s and ’80s. A better balance and improving Spencer’s interviewing skills will go a long way in bringing in a loyal audience.

Vibe

Mon.(4), Tues.(5), Wed.(6), 11p.m.-12 a.m., KCOP

Production: Taped in Los Angeles by Columbia TriStar Television Distribution. Executive producers, Quincy Jones, David Salzman, Daniel Kellison. Senior producers, Annette Grundy, Daniel Salzman; producers, Cali Alpert, Belma Johnson; director, Sandra Fullerton;

Crew: head writer, T. Sean Shannon; production designer, Ray Klausen; music director, Greg Phillinganes; executive in charge of talent, Bill Royce.

Cast: Quincy Jones, Bill Clinton, Anthony Edwards, Brandy, Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Blackstreet with Slash, Kirk Franklin and God's Prophet, Whoopi Goldberg, Tyson, Salt-N-Pepa, Vivica A. Fox, Aaliyah, Lacy Chabert, Demi Moore, Wu Tang Clan, Naomi Campbell, Alex Thomas.Host: Chris Spencer

More TV

  • Matt Tolmach'Venom' film premiere, Arrivals, Los

    Amazon to Develop Human IPO Series With Matt Tolmach Producing

    Amazon is developing a series inspired by the true story of a man who sold shares of himself to investors, Variety has learned. In a competitive situation, Amazon has landed the project, titled “JNNA.” It is described as a half-hour comedy about the next big investment craze — humans. It is inspired by Mike Merrill, [...]

  • Olympics

    NBCUniversal Projects More Than $1.2 Billion in Ad Sales for 2020 Olympics

    NBCUniversal projected it would sell more than $1.2 billion in advertising for its 17 days of broadcasts of the 2020 Olympics from Tokyo, citing the event as a rare opportunity for Madison Avenue to reach big audiences without the worry of politics getting in the way of a commercial message. The Olympics is “one of [...]

  • R Kelly Sexual Assult Accusations Mugshot

    'Surviving R. Kelly' Follow Up, Jeffrey Epstein Docuseries in the Works at Lifetime

    Lifetime is working on a follow up to the hit docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” and a new docuseries about Jeffrey Epstein. Rob Sharenow, president of programming for A+E Networks, made the announcements at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Tuesday. “The Aftermath” will be a four-part series featuring interviews with new survivors, psychologists, [...]

  • Janelle Monae

    Janelle Monáe to Star in 'Homecoming' Season 2 at Amazon

    Janelle Monáe has been tapped to star in the second season of “Homecoming.” Monáe’s character is described as a tenacious woman who finds herself floating in a canoe, with no memory of how she got there or who she is. Monáe takes over the top spot on the Amazon series from Julia Roberts, who starred [...]

  • Juan Alfonso Fazekas Butters

    Fazekas & Butters Taps Juan Alfonso to Be Head of Television

    Fazekas & Butters, a production company led by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, has named Juan Alfonso as the new head of television. There, he will develop and produce projects, and seek out and engage with writers, intellectual property and creative partners, “matchmaking talented people and ideas,” according to Alfonso. The pod, which launched in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content