LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tavis Smiley, who has brought rare diversity to late-night TV for a decade on PBS, will add another two years to his run.
The “Tavis Smiley” show has been renewed through 2015, PBS said Thursday.
“The highlight for me is surviving,” Smiley said, noting the growing competitiveness in the late-night talk show realm.
He said he’s unfazed by the coming shake-up that will see Jay Leno step down (again) as host of NBC’s “Tonight,” with the venerable show heading east as Jimmy Fallon takes over in February.
“For us, it’s the same old, same old — another white guy joins the line up,” Smiley said. “In some ways, it might benefit us because ‘Tonight’ is moving to New York. So that’s one less option that guests in LA have to be booked on.
“I love Jay, but I was teasing him the other day that we actually benefit by him going off the air,” Smiley said.
He’s not alone in breaking up the largely white men’s club in late night, with Arsenio Hall’s return this fall in syndication. Hall already made a dent with his 1989-94 series, but Smiley’s 10-year-old program makes him the minority host with the most staying power.
Smiley is proud of the perspective he brings as an African-American. But it’s his mix of guests, which goes beyond ethnic diversity, that he believes have contributed to his longevity.
“What’s made our show work is that it’s hybrid: We’re both entertainment and information,” he said. His guests have ranged from celebrities including Tom Cruise and Mary J. Blige to Hillary Clinton and others in politics and public affairs.
And everyone gets their say on “Tavis Smiley,” he noted, including the musicians who typically play and leave on other shows. He also welcomes veteran stars, who he considers “the best storytellers ever,” despite TV’s preference for younger performers and viewers.
Beth Hoppe, PBS’ chief programmer and general manager, called Smiley’s show an “important asset” for public TV. He also has produced “Tavis Smiley Reports” specials for PBS.
“Tavis and his colleagues produce shows that bring an intellectual richness to our audience with its mix of news and entertainment,” Hoppe said in a statement.
Wal-Mart, which has funded the show since its start, will continue to support it, PBS said.
Among those who top his wish list of guests are Barbra Streisand, whom he’s interviewed on radio but not TV; Diana Ross, and a certain media magnate.
“Trust me, I’ve got some things to ask Rupert Murdoch,” Smiley said, sounding delighted at the prospect.
He doesn’t shrink from controversy. Smiley has drawn the ire of conservatives and, because of his insistent criticism of President Barack Obama’s policies, that of some liberals and African-Americans.
Smiley, who is writing a book about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., also is heard on public radio’s “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Smiley & West,” the latter a forum for commentary he shares with scholar and activist Cornel West.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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