Craig Kilborn left his CBS late-night talker, The Late Late Show, in August 2004 in what he called an "early retirement." But Kilborn — much like the athletes he covered in his years as an ESPN sportscaster, and played against in basketball when he was a student — has a different definition of retirement. So now there is his comeback.
Kilborn is in his second week of a short summer tryout on several FOX affiliates with The Kilborn File. It airs at 7 p.m. weekdays here in NYC. I've watched most of the episodes, and I've yet to figure out why he came back, exactly. Hence the headline. It seems like a warmed-over version of his previous Late Late Show and even his version of The Daily Show at Comedy Central. The set certainly evokes the aesthetics of the former, and his "5 Questions" is a holdover from both the former and the latter. He has a sidekick, Christine Lakin, who sits close to the desk but only gets a few lines each episode, and her role is largely undefined. He has taken a page out of other recent talkers (Chelsea Lately, Joy Behar, Bill Maher) with his "Power Panel" segment, essentially bringing in two comedians to deliver a couple of zingers on topical pop-culture headlines.
You can look at clips on YouTube of The Kilborn File. When you do, you'll see it looks familiar from what you've seen before out of Kilborn. But where is the urgency? Does there need to be any?
Interestingly, Kilborn opens his shows by saying: "It's another gorgeous day in Hollywood." Craig Ferguson, the man who took over Kilborn's CBS show, opens his second monologue with: "It's a great day for America, everybody!" Are we supposed to read something into that, Kilborn?
Here is Kilborn, now 47, talking about his new show with Good Day L.A., and explaining himself, sort of?