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They’re the names that fly by when the credits roll. But every member of the production staff on a late-night talk show is a foot soldier waging a daily battle against time and limited resources to make the show come alive.
Whether the series is a freight train that runs Monday through Friday or a weekly effort to synthesize and satirize the news, production values in late-night have come a long way since the days of overflowing ashtrays on Johnny Carson’s desk.
Today - Packages - Stunts - Sketches - Costumes
Today, there are video packages that need to be assembled, stunts that need testing, sketches that need costumes and moments of Zen to conjure. The topicality of these shows also means coordinating a small army to complete an endless series of creative and technical tasks under punishing deadlines. The unpredictability of the President Trump-era news cycle only adds to the pressure.
For executive producers and showrunners, steering the ship means relying on experts on staff to handle much of the detail work. Scouting for talent and learning to delegate authority is crucial, they say.
Pride - Talent - Jennifer - Flanz - Co-showrunner
“We take pride in grooming our talent,” says Jennifer Flanz, co-showrunner of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.” “When we find people who can take on more, it only helps us in the long run. A lot of people on our show started as interns.”
Rob Crabbe, executive producer of CBS’ “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” echoes Flanz’s sentiment and emphasizes the importance of having good communication and relations between the myriad departments that need to coordinate with little room for error.
Crabbe - Rivalries - Departments - Everybody - Goal
“We all look out for each other,” Crabbe says. “There’s no rivalries among departments. Everybody’s working toward the same goal — to put out the best product we can.”
Lou A. Trabbie III, production designer for “The Late Late Show,” plays a big part in...
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