Late-night talk shows have been a staple of American television since Steve Allen took the stage of “The Tonight Show” in 1954. With new shows dotting the landscape and challenging the networks’ late-night dominance — from Conan O’Brien’s eponymous “Conan” to Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal” — it’s no surprise that a new comedy has arrived to lampoon the genre.
“Nightcap” stars Ali Wentworth as Staci Cole, a producer in charge of booking talent for a late-night show called “Nightcap with Jimmy.” A retinue of famous guest stars appear as themselves, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kelly Ripa, Mariska Hargitay, Whoopi Goldberg, Paul Rudd and Sarah Jessica Parker. None of them leave unscathed as the show skewers their public personas. It takes comedic shots at both the people who run late-night shows and those who appear on them.
Since the team behind “Nightcap” consists of a number of former “Chelsea Lately” writers, directors and producers, it’s a good guess that their jokes are based at least in part on real-life late-night shenanigans.
Lauren Blumenfeld and Don Fanelli round out the main cast as Staci’s assistant and the fictional Jimmy’s friend, respectively. Jeff Hiller, supermodel Paulina Porizkova and Karl Gregory also appear. So far Jimmy remains unseen — while the other characters talk about him and deal with issues related to him, he’s never actually on screen.
The show airs courtesy of Pop, the network formerly known as TVGN, or the TV Guide Network. It has already been renewed for a 10-episode second season.