×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Craig Ferguson Talks Latenight Moves, New Game Show at NATPE

On Leno: 'All I know about latenight is that the guy who was No. 1 in his time slot for 15 years was fired twice'

While the latenight world was buzzing about Jay Leno’s round of exit interviews, Craig Ferguson worked the Debmar-Mercury cabana at the NATPE confab on Monday afternoon, shaking hands and taking pictures with station execs to promote his new syndie game show “Celebrity Name Game.”

The host of CBS’ “Late Late Show” was a big draw especially for a confab that is light on marquee talent this year. Debmar-Mercury has already cleared “Name Game” in the vast expanse of the country for a fall launch, but Ferguson was game for flesh-pressing duty poolside at  the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach because he knows that station managers are the first line of defense for any new syndicated show.

“Name Game” was originally developed as an hourlong primetime series for CBS by Courteney Cox and David Arquette’s production banner. Ferguson stuck with it as it morphed into syndication because he likes the game — and he likes to work.

“It’s easy,” he said of “Name Game.” “It’s light and fun, you don’t have to try to hard (to play) along.” He also likes the opportunity to interact with the every day folks who team with celebs to answer celeb-oriented questions.

While Ferguson talked lead-ins and time slots with station managers from around the country, he’s also watching from the sidelines all the drama in his day-job sector of latenight TV.

Asked what he thinks of getting a new competitior at 12:35 a.m. as Jimmy Fallon moves up to “The Tonight Show” and Seth Meyers moves to “Late Night,” Ferguson emphasized that he doesn’t look at the time slot as a zero-sum game. “I just do my show. My show is not like any other show out there. I just do the show I want to do for me.”

Ferguson smiled and shvitzed a little in the humid Miami afternoon air before adding: “All I know about latenight is that the guy who was No. 1 in his time slot for 15 years was fired twice, so you’d better be careful about being No. 1 in your time slot.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Norman LearVariety Showrunners Dinner, Inside, Los

    Norman Lear Accepts Creative Conscience Award at Variety Showrunners Dinner

    Norman Lear accepted Variety’s Creative Conscience Award Tuesday night at the publication’s annual Showrunners Dinner. The award honors Lear for his work promoting important causes both inside and outside the entertainment industry. Lear, who appears on the current cover of Variety, recently renewed his overall deal at Sony Pictures Television. Speaking at the Showrunners Dinner [...]

  • Maria Bartiromo

    Maria Bartiromo Renews Pact With Fox News Media

    Maria Bartiromo will be on Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel for a while longer, after striking a new multi-year deal with Fox News Media. “Her exceptional insights and incredible work ethic have been of tremendous value to Fox Business and Fox News and we’re thrilled to have her continue anchoring each of her [...]

  • Lisa Simpson Tapped as Head of

    Lisa Simpson Tapped as New Head of Talent Relations at Fox Entertainment

    Fox Entertainment has appointed Lisa Simpson as its new head of talent relations. In her senior vice president role, Simpson will oversee the talent relations team, providing strategic support to all of the company’s talent and their representatives. She will report directly to Jean Guerin, executive vice president of publicity and corporate communications at the [...]

  • Mark-Paul Gosselaar 'Was Never Approached' for

    Mark-Paul Gosselaar Says He 'Was Never Approached' for 'Saved by the Bell' Revival

    The Bayside gang is reuniting, but Zack Morris isn’t invited — for the time being, at least. Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played the good-looking yet incorrigible Zack in NBC’s beloved “Saved by the Bell” series, said he was never approached to take part in the show’s forthcoming TV sequel, which will reprise roles from Mario Lopez [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    How Showrunners Handled Staffing Season Amid WGA-ATA Feud

    This year’s TV staffing season wasn’t quite like any before. Described as a “free for all” by “Batwoman” creator and showrunner Caroline Dries and “like the Wild Wild West” by “Legacies” creator and showrunner Julie Plec, the WGA-ATA debacle has had deep-seated effects on the way showrunners staff their writers’ rooms and search for fresh [...]

  • 2020 TV Season Preview

    How 2020's Fall TV Season Is Already Shaping Up

    Aiming to stand out in a crowded field, broadcasters this season have leaned on the stability of their schedules and the return of established hits. But for many of the same reasons, they’ve also begun to seed the ground for next year’s crop of shows, considering that top performers like “How to Get Away With [...]

  • David E Kelley

    Looking Back on David E. Kelley's History-Making Double Emmy Wins 20 Years Later

    David E. Kelley thought there’d been a mistake. On Sept. 12, 1999, the prolific showrunner was backstage at the Shrine Auditorium, having just accepted the best drama series Emmy for “The Practice,” when he heard his name called again. Kelley immediately figured that the producers were summoning him out again to take the award away [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content