Samantha Bee’s ‘Full Frontal’ Starts a Race to Snare Attention

Producers and correspondents at Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal” have been running around for two weeks in an effort to get fans interested in tonight’s broadcast – as well as the moments when the weekly show is not on the screen.

“Full Frontal” will this evening in its 10:30 p.m. eastern broadcast on TBS devote two of its three main segments to an “Apology Race.” This “Amazing Race” spoof  has the show’s four correspondents – Allana Harkin, Ashley Nicole Black, Mike Rubens and Amy Hoggart – traveling to places like Haiti, Mexico and Puerto Rico to offer regrets to as many people as possible around the globe for anything and everything President Donald Trump has uttered over the last few weeks.

“Can you possibly go and apologize for everything he does in a two-week period of time? Is it possible? There are so many things in a day,” says Tyler Hall, the segment producer who oversaw the “Apology” effort. “What we found – and what will come out in the segment – is there’s literally too much trash in this trash fire.” He says the staff felt lucky Trump recently tamped down talk about North Korea, because they might have had to go there as part of the conceit.

Staffers at the show say there’s also too much interest in the program to ignore the possibilities inherent in using social media in the days between traditional broadcasts. Like many of TV’s other late-night shows, “Full Frontal” continues to ramp up what it does on venues such as Twitter, Medium and elsewhere to keep communicating with fans when Bee isn’t humorously eviscerating someone on TBS.  “You don’t want people to feel like they are only getting to hear from Sam once a week. We are really looking to the digital space as a way to keep her voice out there, ” explains Carol Hartsell, the show’s managing digital producer. The team also sees social media as an avenue to spark conversation immediately, rather than solely on Wednesdays when the traditional program runs. “We are here all day with Twitter on and CNN and other news shows. When something big happen you hear it reverberate around the office. We are reacting and want our fans to know we are reacting to it,” she adds.

On Friday, “Full Frontal” expects to launch a newsletter, “Little Victories,” that calls attention to interesting or positive news stories “that will likely get wrapped up in the pessimism of the non-stop news cycle,” says Hartsell – another example of the show trying to reach out to viewers when there’s nothing new to “view” on the TBS grid.

There’s already a lot of work to do on a TV program, but all of TV’s late-night teams realize there’s a sizable audience watching their antics in non-traditional fashion. At “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” the show’s signature segment, “A Closer Look,” is routinely posted on Twitter in the early evening, hours before the program airs on NBC at 12:30 in the morning. Robin Thede, the host of BET’s weekly “The Rundown,” each week also hosts a podcast, “The Randown.” Recent guests have included both “Full Frontal’s” Bee and Black. And when TBS’ Conan O’Brien recently decided to go to Haiti, one of the first places the announcement surfaced was on Twitter. A special show depicting his visit won’t air until Saturday, but the host has this week been posting pictures and video from the trip on the social-media outlet.

The demands for more material can add complexity to a late-night show’s routine. During shoots for “Apology Race,” staffers posted video of some of the correspondents’ encounters, and also tried to spark social conversation with a hashtag, #apologyrace, says Hall, the producer. “It’s not more intense than anything else we do, but the challenge is trying to be up in real time,” he says. “Trying to parody reality TV shows you just how hard it is.”





More TV

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    What 'The Office' Shifting Platforms Means for Netflix (Column)

    The most important television show of this unusual moment may just be one whose last new episode aired in 2013. “The Office” was, in its first life in the U.S., a beloved workplace comedy (based on a British series) that ran for nine seasons on NBC. In its protracted afterlife, though, it was known to [...]

  • Adam Scott Calls Out Mitch McConnell's

    Adam Scott Calls Out Mitch McConnell's Social Media Team for Using His Image on Twitter

    Adam Scott took to social media on Wednesday to tell Mitch McConnell’s reps not to use his image after the politician’s social media team tweeted a “Parks and Recreation” gif featuring Scott. “Dear Mitch McConnell & all those representing him, please refrain from using my image in support of anything but your own stunning [and] [...]

  • Riz Ahmed

    'Lives Are Quite Literally at Stake': Riz Ahmed on Seeing More Muslims On Screen

    Art can provoke feeling, but its impact has limitations in the face of legal and systemic oppression, said Riz Ahmed, the activist and actor known for “The OA,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “The Night Of,” onstage at the CAA Amplify conference in Ojai on Tuesday, calling for the high-powered industry execs, talent, [...]

  • Discovery Corporate New Logo

    Discovery Faces Backlash From Unscripted Producers After Shift in Series Payment Process

    Discovery Inc. is facing a backlash from the unscripted production community following a shift in the cable giant’s protocol for paying for programming. During the past year, Discovery has implemented a new system that calls for the company to pay producers for shows after all episodes and related material for a given season have been [...]

  • "The Curse of Cleopatra - Parts

    'Blood & Treasure' Renewed for Season 2 at CBS

    The CBS summer adventure series “Blood & Treasure” has been renewed for a second season. In the series, Danny McNamara (Matt Barr) is a former FBI agent specializing in stolen arts and antiquities. Lexi Vaziri (Sofia Pernas) is a resourceful art thief who is haunted by the tragic loss of her father, which she blames [...]

  • Side-Games-1

    Spectrum Originals Picks up Soccer Drama ‘Side Games’ for U.S. Distribution

    Charter Communications’ OTT service Spectrum Originals has reached a deal with Spain’s The Mediapro Studio for the U.S. rights to its popular series “Todo por el Juego,” (“Side Games”). The series will debut in the States on July 15. The Mediapro Studio produced the series, which was developed by popular Argentine screenwriter Eduardo Sacheri, a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content