Talk Show Guests: Running Away
November 11, 2014 5:35 AM   Subscribe

Why do so many late-night talk show guests leave before the commercial break?

All guests are prepped, so what gives? I'd love to hear from people with actual experience, as opposed to guesses.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What makes you think that they are supposed to stay? I think it makes more sense for them to leave to transition out of the interview instead of them randomly disappearing after a commercial break.
posted by greta simone at 6:03 AM on November 11, 2014

Remember, talk shows are taped during the day for later airing. Quite often, due to scheduling and availability, a particular guest will be doing multiple appearances in one day (or, simply have meetings to attend), and it's more graceful to have them leave "on-air" than to have them mysteriously absent after the break.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:16 AM on November 11, 2014 [5 favorites]

Having someone leave on-air also creates one final opportunity to promote what they're there to promote, and to leave a visual of a "star" leaving to rapturous applause. Having them disappear during the break wastes that opportunity for promotion (see also: replacing your star pitcher after one out in the 7th inning instead of during the break, so everyone gets a chance to properly applaud).
posted by range at 6:32 AM on November 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

In my experience (lighting guy on bigger talk shows for 15 years) unless it's arranged, which is semi-rare, shit just happens. In the past, I've had guests: forget, be befuddled and get up, be too high/drunk to remember, get flustered, be excited to be on that particular show and forget, play up a joke, get annoyed and want to other words these shows, despite lots of planning and work, are sometimes subject to chaos.

Getting up early merely for applause, in my experience, generally results in not being asked back for a long while unless the guest is "a friend of the show." That shit causes havoc in the control room, directors and stage managers don't like to be overruled, and most importantly it doesn't make for good tv. The feeling is "you got your applause at the top of the act, stay in your seat."

If the guest has multiple appearances that day (a given, I've worked with the same guest on two shows in one day more than a few times) and another appearance runs the risk of impinging on my show's time, we will either go early or assign a "hard out," meaning the guest HAS to leave by x time, and everyone will keep a spring in their step during taping. That's usually only for a-listers and politicians, tho. If Pauly Shore has someplace to be after my show, well...
posted by nevercalm at 7:08 AM on November 11, 2014 [12 favorites]

I mostly see this with guests who are probably less experienced doing talk shows, and chalk it up to them forgetting their instructions in the nervousness of the moment.
posted by AndrewInDC at 7:29 AM on November 11, 2014

They used to stay through the whole show. They also used to come on when they weren't shilling something.

They used to be talk shows. I think it started to go downhill during the bitter Letterman-Leno early feud days. Everything got very very competitive and the winners seemed to be publicists. It's likely publicists would only allow their big clients on the show if no one else stayed, so their client would be spotlighted (spotlit??) without any guest sitting around and, you know, talking too.

So it's (d)evolved into what it is now. Three leads from a movie interviewed on three consecutive nights on every channel.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 9:01 AM on November 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Jack Paar: worth an effort to see the way it was then.
posted by Freedomboy at 9:20 AM on November 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Are you talking about that awkward moment when Dave or Jimmy or whoever says "Thanks for coming by, X!," reaches out to shake his/her hand, and the guest gets up to leave, even though the cameras are still "on?"

Or do you mean why guests don't stay through the whole show?
posted by kuanes at 9:23 AM on November 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

In my experience, some shows have them stay, and some don't.

For shows that do have them stay, guests may opt not to stay if they have scheduling conflicts or otherwise staying doesn't work for them. For example a guest with young children might want to opt to be home for dinner rather than spend an extra 15 minutes silently staring into the middle distance while somebody else gets interviewed.

I mean, it's not like their interview is going to continue or they are in any way going to be involved during the next guest's spot.

Nthing that it's a little more elegant to actually wrap up the interview and have the guest exit (or at least make exiting type motions) than to just cut to a commercial abruptly and then they're gone.
posted by Sara C. at 9:46 AM on November 11, 2014

Response by poster: To clarify, I meant "that awkward moment when Dave or Jimmy or whoever says "Thanks for coming by, X!," reaches out to shake his/her hand, and the guest gets up to leave, even though the cameras are still [rolling]."

Thank you, kuanes!

Sorry, folks, for not being clearer.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 4:38 PM on November 11, 2014

I think it's just a natural reaction to being told "it's great to have had you here," so the celeb gets up to leave. Just normal human behavior?
posted by kuanes at 7:18 AM on November 13, 2014

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