The hosts of several of the leading late-night talk shows in the U.S. have been moonlighting in other areas of the content business. They are becoming involved in side projects, sometimes spin-offs of their main gig and sometimes ventures entirely unrelated to their primary series. These initiatives occasionally lend themselves to licensed products. For example:
- Stephen Colbert, of The Late Show on CBS, executive produces Our Cartoon President, an animated comedy about the Trump presidency that airs on CBS sister station Showtime. CBS Consumer Products announced just prior to Licensing Expo that it has licensed Redshift Games for digital gaming titles in the U.S. and Canada.
- James Corden of The Late Late Show, also at CBS, has created standalone TV specials based on Carpool Karaoke, one of the most popular segments of the late-night series. The licensing program for this sub-brand, overseen by CBS Consumer Products, includes a board game from Big G Creative and a microphone from Singing Machine, both just announced.
- Jimmy Fallon of NBC’s The Tonight Show has written two children’s books, Your Baby’s First Word Will Be DADA (2015) and Everything Is MAMA (2017), with a third, This is Baby, coming this fall. All are published by Macmillan’s Feiwel & Friends imprint. Earlier this year Chronicle Press/Mudpuppy introduced the first licensed products for the franchise, including puzzles and flash cards. Separately, Fallon paired with G-III for a line of sports-fan apparel called Hands High, launched in 2015. The brand produces products under license from the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB, and colleges.
- Seth Meyers, of Late Night on NBC, co-created and executive produced The Awesomes, an animated superhero comedy that ran from 2013 to 2015. Bif Bang Pow! was on board for action figures for the show, which was licensed by Broadway Video.
All of the licensing programs based on these ventures are, or were, very limited in scope (aside from the Hands High example). That said, the fame of their celebrity backers likely gives such initiatives, in many cases at least, more credibility in the world of licensing than they might have had otherwise.
We will be publishing our take on trends from Licensing Expo 2019, currently ongoing in Las Vegas, next week. Watch for a link in Monday’s edition of RaugustReports.