BET Orders a Weekly Late Night Show Produced by Chris Rock and Hosted by Robin Thede
Former Nightly Show head writer and performer Robin Thede is headed to BET for a new late night show. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network has ordered 24 episodes of a weekly late night show hosted by Thede and produced by Chris Rock called The Rundown, which Thede and Rock started developing last year. Each episode will focus on Thede’s “take on the week’s headlines in politics and pop culture with a fast-paced, no-holds-barred show that will feature social commentary, sketch comedy and pop culture parodies.” Speaking with THR, Thede gave some more details on the format her show will take on:
We’ll have occasional musical performances. We’ll start the show with an opening sketch that will spoof something from the week. Then we’ll do the in-studio segment with the live audience where we go through the rundown. We’re only going to hit topics with a couple of jokes because it’s a literal rundown on the massive screen that says the topics that we’re going to cover. We are not doing any 12-minute deep dives on why black lives matter. We can get into longer-form topics in the field pieces, which will be our third act. Those will either be longform sketches, field pieces or musical acts. Then the tag in the fourth act with a funny thing at the end. It’s a really well-rounded show that takes advantage of all the things I do. Viewers can expect a layered show that if you don’t like one thing, just wait 30 seconds because it’s going to change and move really fast.
In the THR interview, Rock spoke about the fact that there are currently no black hosts in late night and pointed out that networks seem way more willing to take chances with up-and-coming straight white men for late night gigs than they do everyone else, with Rock’s experience producing Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell being a rare exception:
Here’s the weird thing — and it’s a network thing — all those guys are great but are seven white guys funnier before you get to any woman or a Latino? I don’t think so. By the time they offer something to someone who is a minority, they’re too big for the job. That’s the problem. They never really take a shot with new talent when it comes to a woman or a minority. I’ll get an offer for a late-night show now, but the reality is I probably should have gotten it in 1995. That’s when Conan got it. That’s when white guys get it: on the ascension. But no one really makes that jump. So they’ll offer Ellen the Tonight Show now when reality is they probably should have offered her the Tonight Show in 1992. Take a chance. George Lopez, they gave him a talk show 10 years after they should have given him a talk show. They waited until he was the most famous Mexican guy in the world and then he gets an offer. Michelle Wolf is as funny as can be and should have her own show. So I have to hand it to the good people at FX for taking a chance with Kamau. It’s not the black thing; it’s that they took a chance — and that’s rare.
Thede’s show will debut on BET sometime in the fall.