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George Lopez will join the ranks of late-night talk show hosts
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McClatchy Newspapers (MCT) - Look out Dave, Conan and Jimmy. Here comes George Lopez.
The comedian has just signed on to host a new late-night talk show that will air at 11 p.m. EDT Monday-Thursday on the cable channel TBS.
The chatting begins in November. TBS has not yet named the show.
"If change can come to the White House, then change can come to late night," says Lopez in a telephone interview just hours after the announcement Tuesday.
"The main thing I want to do with this show is to attract a diverse audience who will come and have a party every night."
There will be some traditional talk show elements: jokes, guests, comedy acts, live music.
But Lopez says what will make his talk effort stand out is the presentation. The show, to be based in Los Angeles, will have an outdoor street-party atmosphere. Lopez describes the set as "bringing the outdoors indoors."
He plans to chat with actors, athletes, politicians, writers and a variety of other guests _ but not from behind a desk, which doesn't keep with the edgy approach he wants to take.
There will be no dividing line between guests and the audience; guests will interact with the crowd.
He plans on using Shakira's band as the house band and wants them to play everything from rock to salsa.
Lopez, 47, heads into the new job with years of experience answering questions. The one thing he has learned from all his talk-show visits is that he wants to allow his guests to be who they are.
There are some areas that are off limits. Don't expect Lopez to dance, cook or "blow up things."
This is the first regular television job for Lopez since his self-titled ABC situation comedy ended after six seasons. He has been busy working in films such as "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" and "The Spy Next Door."
Lopez jokes that he is being told that doing a talk show four nights a week for 34 weeks will be a grind. He's looking forward to that busy schedule. A grind to Lopez is sitting in a trailer for hours just waiting to do a small part in a movie. As he puts it, the talk show better serves his stand-up side.
The new show gives Lopez, who has never been afraid to express his political views, a nationwide forum.
Even before the show, Time magazine selected him as one of the 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America.
That became apparent in 2005 after Lopez received a kidney transplant. He and his wife, Ann, began raising millions for the National Kidney Foundation.
At this point, Lopez is not certain how much he will be able to keep touring.
All of his energy is going into getting his show ready. He expects that once the show gets going, there will still be opportunities to be on the road.
© 2009, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.).
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