Saturday, June 28, 2008

Joan Rivers Late Show

This is the first several minutes (and some of the closing) of the first episode of the Joan Rivers Late Show that launched the Fox Broadcasting Company in 1986. I'm posting it here because my wife and I had a little discussion minutes ago about Michael Sembello, whether he was more famous for the song "Maniac" or for co-writing the theme song to this talk show with bandleader Mark Hudson (one of the Hudson Brothers of 70's kidvid fame). Only musicians I can pick out of this clip are baritone sax player Beverly Dahlke-Smith (known as "Bev The Tramp" on the show), and tucked almost out of sight in the back row is bass trombone player Lew McCreary.

Prior to her taking this show over, Rivers acted quite frequently as Johnny Carson's guest host, and I believe the two never spoke again when Rivers basically double-crossed the King of Late Night and decided to compete against him. Alas, Joan Rivers and Fox parted ways a few years later, and after a succession of guest hosts (including Howie Mandel), the time slot eventually went to Ross Shafer and eventually Arsenio Hall, who spun off into his own syndicated offering for Paramount. Fox floundered in late night with garbage such as "The Wilton North Report" and "The Chevy Chase Show" and finally gave up on the daypart altogether.

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