Late night talk shows can really give Nigerian television a much needed face lift which would make it relevant again.
Essentially, what a late night talk show does is to act as both a commentator and historian of popular culture. It documents the times and tries to make some sense of the times we live in. The monologue of the host is sort of a minimal newsreel for his audience that enlightens them on what is happening around them.
A late night talk show is usually hosted by a comedian or a funny guy with a face for TV who delivers humorous monologues and interviews popular people. There is usually a live band on the set of the late night talk show. Sketches are also present in these type of shows as well as live performances.
Popular talk show hosts in America are David Letterman, Jon Stewart, Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon and others. South African comedian Trevor Noah was made the host of 'The Daily Show' in 2015. His comments on the US presidential election and jokes about Donald Trump is steadily increasing his profile in America.
The late night talk show format has been so popular that it has been duplicated in other countries such as England, Canada, Brazil, Italy, and Germany.
Presently in Nigeria, 'Highlites with IK' and the 'Teju Babyface Show' are probably the only two talk shows. The only difference with the foreign format is that they do not air late in the night. The Teju Babyface Show has a live band while Highlites with IK has a DJ (which is also allowed).
Irrespective of their presence, these two shows haven't been able to lead the commentary on Nigerian life. Maybe the two shows are not focusing on this for valid reasons, but it kind of hurts that a true late night tv show isn't on air because there is always a lot going on in Nigeria.
In the 80s, the NTA produced and syndicated 'News Line' gave Nigerians a weekly dose and mix of political news and human interest stories. Yinka Craig, Frank Olize and Abike Dabiri, this three generation of NTA presenters became household names as presenters of News Line.
As the years have gone by, the new generation of Nigerians does not care much for government sponsored news stories and fluff pieces. Instead, there is a real desire among young Nigerians to have a TV show that talks about what they tweet about.
Imagine top Nigerian comedian Basketmouth walking on the set of a live TV show as a live band plays a popular pop tune. After greeting the audience and the people at home, Basketmouth goes on to deliver a funny monologue of the top news of the day- from the do-or-die election in Edo state to singer Orezi posing nude.
After his monologue, he goes on to interview top Nigerian celebrities in an easy-going manner. The late night show spiced with his rib cracking sketches would end with a performance from a singer who has a hot song.
Clearly, this format would rock on TV. Who really watches TV these days. We are all hooked to our phones. Late night TV shows will bring a generation that is more concerned about online content back to television.
Nigerian TV is bland. The major reason why DSTV has been a success in this country is because terrestrial TV in the country has failed in coming up with innovative and entertaining programmes.
More importantly, 30 years from now where are we going to get a commentary of the zeitgeist of the times we are in. If we had late night TV shows back in the 70s, we could have a glimpse into the times are parents lived in.
For the sake of posterity and better content, Nigerian TV stations have to start producing late night TV shows.