The show will air Saturdays at 10 p.m. beginning Oct. 25 and feature the comedian riffing on politics, entertainment, sports and pop culture. Hughley will also conduct one-on-one interviews with newsmakers and the reporters covering them.
The effort is part of CNN’s effort to attract younger viewers who get more of their news from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” than they do from mainstream news outlets.
“D.L. is a very thoughtful, well-informed guy with unpredictable views, and I’ve always admired his comedy,” said CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein. “The basic premise of the show is, what if a guy like him was let loose in the CNN building for a weekend after the lights went off?”
Klein said CNN could not release the name of the show yet, but he did say the tone would be a bit different Comedy Central’s “Daily” and “Colbert.” Those are “fake newscasts,” Klein explained, “whereas this is really D.L.’s observations and comments on the week’s events and his riffs on the news.”
“I’m a big fan of both of those shows,” Hughley added, “but I’ve got a different skill set. I’m not going to parody a news show or a news anchor. My show will reflect my views on things just as their shows reflect their views.”
For instance, Hughley continued, “There have been six movies with a black man as the president, and in all those movies, the world was coming to an end. If this election isn’t art imitating life, I don’t know what is.”
Hughley’s show will tape before a live audience on one of CNN’s news sets in New York. Klein says the comic will have full access to the network’s global newsgathering operations, adding: “We expect he’ll run amok a little.”
“It’s like getting to drive my father’s Mercedes to school. I’d like to know what Jesse Jackson is going to do for a living if Obama is elected,” Hughley said, adding that he would invite Jackson to appear. “I’d like to know what Sarah Palin is going to do if she doesn’t get elected. Ever notice that she does all the things a good waitress does when she wants better tips? You know, wink and smile.”
Politics will not be the only fodder for the show, Hughley emphasized.
“In three weeks, 50% of the country is going to be angry. So we’ll be looking at a lot of other things, too,” he said.