April 08, 2013

Horse 1460 - The Tonight Show with Joel Madden

Joel Madden, the lead singer of Good Charlotte has again reprised his role on Channel 9's The Voice. Whilst he doesn't have the cool temperament of Seal, the Latin flair of Ricky Martin, or even the bubbliness of Delta, I think that in a strange sort of way, he'd be perfect for a Tonight style program on telly.

In America, Johnny Carson ruled the Tonight Show format for the best part of 30 years. His logical successor, David Letterman was overlooked in 1992 and Jay Leno got the gig. In 2013, Leno is retiring whilst still outrating Letterman's Late Show.
Now I cite this story by way of background because I think it shows something interesting. A late night talk show host can have a spot on television which consistently rates well for several decades. By way of contrast, a rock star's career is usually only good for about a decade in most cases. Even Joel Madden by now would probably concede that Good Charlotte as a band has hit its peaks some time ago and equally the group of fans accumulated has also grown older.

Obviously being at the centre of the stage is hardly a problem for him but he said something last night that makes me think that he'd be very good as a talk show host. He mentioned that he tends not to coach as much as the other members of the panel on The Voice, and prefers to push his chosen team members into the spotlight and for them to find their "attitude"; this is also important for a talk show host. A talk show host, although their name headlines the show and they themselves are stars in their own right, needs to know when to stand aside and more importantly to let their guests say whatever they are going to.

The thing is that because Joel has been in a band as opposed to being a solo artist, he already possesses the skills to share a stage; that basically is what the cut and thrust of being a late night talk show host is about.
It is a little bit different to the art if being a TV journalist because although they ask a lot of questions, a late night TV talk show host engages in more of a dance of banter with their target. This explains why someone like Graeme Norton is so deft at the job he has, yet still comes off as a little silly.
I expect that neither someone like George Negus, Leigh Sales, Peter Overton or even Tony Jones who directs traffic on QandA, would have the necessary required sense of mayhem and silliness to host a late show, whereas Joel more than likely does.
Journalists ask questions to dig at information but rock stars and comedians set out to entertain, which is quite a different skill set. I don't think that Joel is particularly funny but then again, I also could say the same for a lot of comedians and that is their job. Rove McManaus is a reasonably successful talk show host but at the same time is unfunny - maybe that's just Rove though.

If Channel 10 can take Shaun Micallef and make a semi-quiz show work for four years, and Channel 7 can take an economist like David Koch and turn him into a morning show presenter, then I don't see why Channel 9 can't take Joel Madden and give him a Tonight show. He's already shown himself to be marketable, having landed deals with KFC and Vodafone and after winning the Logie for Best Male Newcomer on Australian Television, his celebrity if nothing else is bankable. On top of that, as an American, he is a little exotic and that worked in Don Lane's favour.

I just think that Australian television has been looking for a Tonight style show for a long time; if it happens, a strange set of circumstances might mean that Joel Madden is the perfect host for it.

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