Got a phone, celebrity status, and millions of followers on Instagram or YouTube? Well congratulations! You got your own hit talk show!
Usually when it comes to talk shows, they have to be broadcasted on a big network with a studio audience and feature run-of-the-mill entertainment like games or musical performances. However, those standards have left the building ever since the nation has entered into quarantine.
Late night talk show hosts who used to work with the highest production standards are now filming from areas in their homes where children can’t crash the set. For instance, Seth Myers shoots Late Night in his attic with what looks like an iPhone. Meanwhile, Jimmy Kimmel has a higher quality camera and mic, but he’s broadcasting from his living room. Then there’s Real Time host Bill Maher, who has a monologue in his backyard, conducts interviews at his desk on the computer, then goes back outside by the pool for his closing remarks.
The style of all these talk shows have felt a lot more personable too. Kimmel no longer has a full band swinging him in, but instead his young daughter sings an intro song while she showcases cute drawings of her dad. Also, during one of Meyers’ most recent Closer Look segments, his children stormed in the room for his sign off.
So if a network host can create a makeshift studio in their house, broadcast to the millions through the internet, and have any guest they want through video chat (because nobody else has anything better to do), why can’t other celebrities?
This has kicked off a trend where celebrities have created their own talk shows with absolute freedom. All a celebrity needs to do is either broadcast live or post a prerecorded video to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Considering they’re not bound by a network contract, they can host whoever they want, have whatever structure they want, and say whatever they want.
For example, Miley Cyrus has Bright Minded on Instagram TV, where every Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. PST, she hosts an hour show. So far, Cyrus has hosted popular guests like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Reese Witherspoon, Ellen DeGeneres, and Hailey Bieber, which is quite impressive for a newly launched show. Additionally, John Krasinski has his own YouTube show called Some Good News, where The Office actor obviously shares some uplifting stories and he has chatted with guests like David Ortiz from the Red Sox and Steve Carell.
There are plenty of celebrities who also have their own shows. Comedian Norm McDonald hosts Quarantined on YouTube, director Paul Fieg has Quarantine Cocktail Time on Instagram,
musician Dolly Parton reads children’s classics on Story Time through YouTube, actor Will Smith does Will Smith from Home on Snap Chat, Maria Shriver’s #HomeTogether is a hit on Instagram, and there’s so many others.
While the production standards have lowered and opened the floodgates for celebrities to host their own shows, so have ours. Professor of Communication Robert Scott, Ph.D., discussed how today we are more comfortable letting our expectations simmer because we are at home just like celebrities are. “Many consumers have been drawn to this level of access through streaming services and social media, so video quality has not been as important as the access itself, immediacy, interaction, the ability to share,” Scott said. “We’ve become comfortable with informal settings, a wider variety of approaches and video duration, and lower production value.”
Scott also suggested that a reason why we’ve warmed up to iPhone shot shows is because we are interacting with the software every day, whether it’s to hop on class or chat with friends. Scott noted, “Celebrities are using various services to stay in touch with audiences and so far there has been an emphasis on we’re all going through this strange and challenging time together. So there is less emphasis on production value and more emphasis on the fact that celebrities are making themselves available to broadcast from their living rooms, kitchens, backyards, even their bathrooms,” he said.
In today’s world where we’re all grounded, these shows can serve as a nice break from the day-to-day. Many of us who are browsing through our cable know there isn’t too much on during the day, so popping on a talk show is perfect for killing time. And even though streaming shows on Netflix is popular, sometimes it can be a big commitment to watch a show or film, so the makeshift show serves as a nice break in the action.
While these shows are great for celebrities today, will they survive in a post quarantine world? Some shows may, it depends. Scott suggested, “As this model becomes more popular, I suspect we’ll continue to see similar video broadcasts in the future, but I doubt it will replace the higher quality content we’re accustomed to with television broadcasting. Anyone can broadcast today, and technology will only improve, so we should expect a greater variety of entertainment, communication and information content,” he concluded.
Someday when we raise our standards, who knows? Maybe it will motivate celebrities to enhance their filming equipment. On the other hand, they might not have any time to create shows because celebrities will be off doing busier things like boating or going on vacation. If they do continue to make shows, hopefully I won’t be home to see them.