Saturday, July 17, 2010

Craig Kilborn on ESPN, Women in Late Night, and His Comeback

When Craig Kilborn and I back last week, LeBron James hadn't yet told sports fans around the nation that he was going to play in Miami. So it's not a shock that the topic was still on the mind of a guy who came to America's notice as an newscaster of ESPN's 'SportsCenter' in the mid-'90s.

"I'll tell you what's odd, if he does go away Cleveland, he's going to draw the city through this declaration and then put the boot in them in the gut and say 'I'm leaving,'" he told me.

Kilborn has had an attractive career, to say the least. He left 'The Daily Show' in 1999 to take 'The Late Late Show' over from Tom Snyder; his descendant, Jon Stewart, has become a superstar. And five years later, he step away from 'Late Late' apparently into darkness. Craig Ferguson took over and has become the new star of late night TV.

Six years after goodbye CBS, he's back with 'The Kilborn File,' a show that's being syndicated by Fox to a incomplete number of station this summer on a trial run. The show is a fast-paced half-hour that has a lot of what Kilborn fans have come to wait for: headlines, Five Questions, and the signature Kilborn style.

I talk to Kilborn about what he thinks of ESPN these days, if 'The Daily Show' is truly anti-women, and why he's been away from television for all these years.


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