LOS ANGELES — Former “Daily Show” and “Late Late Show” host Craig Kilborn is looking to return to television in an early evening program that will be tested this summer in a handful of major markets, including New York and Los Angeles.
The half-hour program, which is being developed by News Corp.‘s 20th Television, will have about a two-month trial run on some Fox-owned stations, including KTTV Los Angeles and WNYW New York. A 20th Television spokesperson declined to comment on the Kilborn project, saying only that the syndication company is “always at the forefront of program development.”
The tall and laconic Kilborn, 47, first rose to prominence as an ESPN personality, where he was known for his dry wit as an anchor of the sports cable channel’s wildly popular “Sports Center.” He then left ESPN and was the original host of Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” for three years. He got into some hot water there when he made some nasty cracks about his producer Lizz Winstead in an article in Esquire.
The former college basketball player left Comedy Central and the “Daily Show” for broadcast TV in 1999 and went to CBS as the successor to Tom Snyder. He hosted the show for about five years but left in 2004. Since then, he has popped up in the occasional movie (“Old School”).
When Kilborn hosted the Daily Show, it had a slight political slant to it but was not all politics, as is the case with his successor, Jon Stewart.
Talk shows in the early evening are rare in television, as most local stations prefer to carry reruns of situation comedies or staples such as the game show “Wheel of Fortune” or “Entertainment Tonight.”
Fox owns stations that cover almost 40 percent of the country, and if Kilborn’s test does well he could find a home there. However, clearing the show nationwide may prove to be a challenge for stations that traditionally feel sitcoms are the way to go in the early evening hours.