The new "The Late Show," set for a Nov. 30 launch, is scrambling to put it all together under new exec producer Barry Sand, while ratings for the lame-duckling show have been climbing under current comedian-host Arsenio Hall. A Fox Network spokesman said Hall's been averaging about a 3 rating, compared to a 2.2 for Joan Rivers when she departed last May--"If she'd had a 3.2," said the rep, "she wouldn't be gone."
Meanwhile, here's a progress report from inside sources:
Ex-"Letterman" producer Sand was in Texas recently in search of two no-nonsense anchors around whom a group of offbeat ensemble characters will revolve. Also sought: a dozen funny writers (at $3,000 a week, 13-week guarantees).
Look for "Letterman"-esque remotes and taped segments from around the country in the revamped format. "I saw it (the show) dummied up on the board and it will include topical news plus comments and satire on the current events," said our mole. "It also will have some road stuff--like a visit to the Salt Water Fishing Hall of Fame--then maybe coverage of press conferences from a zany perspective."
No band, no live audience, no single host per se. And the name's being debated: "One force wants to keep the name and the other led by Sand wants a new one for a new identity."