From Pop Goes the Library
Breakfast TV Shows, Daytime, and Late-Night Talk Shows (various networks) An endless parade of celebrities, authors, and performers traipse through the studios of every major morning, daytime, and late-night talk show. You can get an idea of what and who is approaching hotness just by taking a look at these shows’ schedules, available on their network websites. This category comprises everything from Today and Good Morning America to The View and Oprah and The Tonight Show.
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central) The Colbert Report takes a satirical look at the day’s news. Steven Colbert, as “Steven Colbert,” casts a gimlet eye on the political news of the day. Considerably more outrageous than its brother program (see The Daily Show), Mr. Colbert has brought us such neologisms as “truthiness” and “wikiality.”
The Daily Show (Comedy Central) The Daily Show is Must-See TV for Generations X and Y, thanks to the snarky yet humane intelligence of host Jon Stewart. The pepper to The Colbert Report’s salt.
The O’Reilly Factor (Fox News) This immensely popular daily commentary show, hosted by Bill O’Reilly, is always controversial. This show is a good way to keep a finger on the pulse of conservative thought. Fun pop fact: O’Reilly is the pundit whose style has most influenced the character “Steven Colbert” on The Colbert Report.
Saturday Night Live (NBC) This workhorse sketch comedy show has its ups and downs, but when the cast is really good (or sometimes just the guest host—see Justin Timberlake’s immortal, if unprintable, sketch-song from his December 2006 Christmas episode), you cannot beat SNL’s ability to generate catchphrases and future stars of comedy.
TRL (MTV) and 106th & Park (BET) On these live, daily call-in Top 10 music video countdown shows, viewers vote for their favorite videos of the day online and via text message. Both shows feature attractive, youthful hosts, screaming tween and teen audience members, lavishly produced videos, and a stream of next big thing guests. Essential viewing, because it’s no longer enough (and really, it hasn’t been enough since 1981, when MTV was founded) to know how a Top 40 song sounds. You need to know how it looks, too.