Craig Kilborn’s new TV talk show, foreshadowed here a couple months back, launches tonight on seven Fox owned-and-operated stations.
Kilborn talked about his hiatus from show business with Joe Flint of the LOS ANGELES TIMES:
“I enjoyed retirement the right way — linguine con vongole, red wine and plenty of truffle cheese. It was my Orson Welles stage. I feel like a French woman.
“I didn’t leave to do anything else, I left to leave.
“I thought late-night was crowded … the formats repetitive. I achieved my goals, and it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. My job is done here. I’m going to miss my best friends — my cameras.”
Mike Gibbons, head writer on Kilborn’s CBS show: “He was totally bored. He’d much rather do his comedy and not deal with three guests a night promoting their wares.”
ESPN Executive Editor John Walsh on Kilborn: “He worked real hard, especially in the beginning. He liked sports, but at a certain point and time he was going to move on. … He wanted a career that didn’t necessarily match up with ESPN and ‘Sports Center.’”
Flint reports, “about halfway through his time at ESPN, Kilborn came to Walsh with a script for a sitcom he wanted to pursue.”
Kilborn on why perhaps he hasn’t gone mainstream: “I don’t do well around the angry, bitter and emotionally fragile among us, which may eliminate 70% of the population. They say comedy comes from a dark place. Maybe 95% of the time it does, but it doesn’t for me. I’m a down-to-earth guy.“
More from Flint of the LAT:
“The Kilborn File” will have a limited summer run on several big city Fox stations and, if it performs, would be rolled out across the country as early as next year.
On the new show, Kilborn will have a partner — actress Christine Lakin — probably best known for her seven-year stint as the tomboy on the ABC sitcom “Step by Step.” The show will open with Kilborn and Lakin honing their comic chops on the day’s headlines. Later, a roundtable discussion will ensue with a potpourri of comics, athletes and academics. There will also be the obligatory big-name guest and the Kilborn staple of “Five Questions.”
If the show doesn’t work, Kilborn says he won’t lose sleep over it. He has sitcom ideas and fantasies of returning to Northern California and becoming a disc jockey. Although he has a nice house in the hills, the Hollywood scene holds little appeal.
Kilborn: “I lived in a studio apartment until my mid-30s, I don’t have an extravagant lifestyle. All I ever wanted to be was an old man with a dog.”
Kilborn sat out seven years for a limited run tryout?
Is it unreasonable to think that maybe things didn’t go according to plan and that’s there’s more to the story?
To Kilborn’s credit, the format is a complete cater to his talents. So at least he got the show he wanted. If Kilborn finally throws himself into something legitimately long term, it’ll succeed.
My first and last piece of advice: Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and saying and just do your job.