A British Import Gets a Trial Run on ABC You never know. Late night television could get interesting this fall. It won't be Carson and Letterman and-pray-for-a-good-movie. Joan Rivers will have her own show on independent stations around the country, and now ABC is offering a preview of its potential entry in the midnight sweepstakes.
This week on Channel 13 Monday through Friday the network introduces Noel Edmonds. Reintroduces, actually. You may remember him as a pinch-hitter on the network's "Foul-Ups, Bleeps and Blunders" show. If you do remember that, Edmonds would rather you forget.
"You didn't see me?" he asked. "Thank God for that."
Of course, he acknowledged, that's being a little ungracious to the network that brought him to America as a backup and now wants to make him a late-night star. But it was not his best moment in broadcasting -- and he's had many back home in England. So to get a look at the real Noel Edmonds, stay tuned after Ted Koppel signs off.
What you'll see is a slightly Americanized version of the show Edmonds has made No. 3 in England. If enough people like it, ABC may put "The Noel Edmonds Show" on the fall schedule. As part of his homework for storming American late-night television, Edmonds has been watching tapes of Johnny Carson and David Lettermen. He said he feels Carson is a great "chat-show" host ("the definitive presenter") but prefers Letterman ("more unpredictable, more youth-oriented").
But Edmonds, who is 37, promises to imitate neither. A feature of his show is the novel interview -- one guest this week is interviewed in a bath, the others Edmonds won't even talk about for fear of giving away a surprise. "The style of the show is fast and unpredictable," he said, a fashion well-matched to its live presentation in the Mother Country.
Back home, Edmonds' show is seen by 17 million people a week in a country of 50 million, he said. "Now we have five nights to win over America."