Friday, May 12, 2017

Celebrity Web Talk Shows

                Getting a talk show off the ground is no easy feat (look no further than the many celebrities who have tried and failed to start their own talk shows to follow the likes of Ellen Degeneres and Steve Harvey).  However, some celebrities have been able to create their own talk shows on the internet, usually with an interesting concept.   In addition, it’s a way for talk show hosts to continue with the format after their cable or network show ends.  Here are some celebrity talk shows made exclusively for the internet.
                Jerry Seinfeld created one of the most well-known sitcoms of the 1990s, Seinfeld.  In 2012, he created and starred in his own talk show creation, called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.  In 2002 he made a DVD extra with him talking with Colin Quinn for the documentary Comedian.  Then he bought a VW Beetle and recorded himself driving it back with his friend Barry Marder.  Seinfeld was inspired by the experiences to create a show where Seinfeld introduces the guest to a vintage car and they both go to a coffee shop or a restaurant and have coffee, and along the way have free-flowing spontaneous conversations.  The show premiered on July 12, 2012, on the website Crackle with the first guest being Larry David (creator of Seinfeld), and the first car being a 1952 Volkswagen Beetle.  Each episode lasts anywhere between 12 to 20 minutes.  Seinfeld has nine seasons of the show, most seasons lasting about six episodes, and a total of 59 episodes have been released so far.  In January 2017, the announcement was made that Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee would be moving to Netflix after the ninth season ended on Crackle.  
                Zach Galifianakis was tapped to host Between Two Ferns on the Funny or Die website.  Between Two Ferns is a deliberate parody of the talk show concept, with the guest sitting on a bare stage between two potted ferns as if the show was on a public access network, with on-screen graphics containing errors on purpose.  Unlike the pleasant aspect of most celebrity talk shows, Zach conducts the interviews with an antagonistic attitude toward the celebrity with harsh or uncomfortable questions.  Galifianakis will also awkwardly interrupt the interview for sponsor plugs.  While there are conflicts reports of how much of the talk show is staged (Zach claims it isn’t), nevertheless the fun of the show is watching how the guests respond to the awkward and insulting Galifianakis.  The show premiered on Funny or Die on January 8, 2008, with guest Michael Cera.  There have been 21 episodes of Between the Ferns on Funny or Die, and one television special that was aired on May 6, 2012, on Comedy Central called Between Two Fern: A Fairytale of New York and featured Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, and Richard Branson. 
                Larry King, one of the most famous talk show hosts ever, signed off of his CNN talk show Larry King Live in 2010.  But not content to rest in retirement, Larry King returned to hosting talk shows with not one but two Web talk shows.  Larry King founded the company Ora TV in 2012 with funding from America Movil, which is a business venture of Carlos Slim, a Mexican billionaire.  Larry King made Larry King Now, which features King interviewing celebrities from all walks of life.  Larry King Now premiered on November 1, 2012, with Seth McFarlane as the first guest.  Larry King Now is also distributed on Hulu and RT America (formerly Russia Today).  Larry King Now already has more than 500 episodes since 2012.  Larry King also hosts a weekly, Thursday night show called Politicking with Larry King, focusing more on political guests and political topics.  Politicking with Larry King premiered on June 13, 2013, and featured Representative Aaron Schock, Democratic Strategist Peter Fenn, POLITICO Deputy Managing Editor Rachel Smolkin, and is also available on Hulu and RT America, and has over 290 episodes since 2013.  While the format of Larry King’s web talk shows is not that different from the format of his television series, nevertheless, at 83 years old, King still shows his passion for interview fascinating people.

                Web Talk Shows enable some unique content, like Jerry Seinfeld’s show or Funny or Die’s Between Two Ferns.  It also enables talk show hosts to continue to do what they love, in the case of Larry King.  Check out these celebrity talk shows.  

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