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YouTube star Lilly Singh to replace Carson Daly with her own late-night NBC show

Singh will be the first woman to host a daily late-night show for a major network, but can she translate her 14 million YouTube subscribers to TV viewers?

YouTube star Lilly Singh to replace Carson Daly with her own late-night NBC show
Jimmy Fallon (left), comedian Lilly Singh (center), and Seth Meyers (right). A Little Late with Lilly Singh launches in September on NBC, replacing Last Call with Carson Daly. [Photo: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC]

Lilly Singh, who’s best known for her vlogs and comedy sketches on YouTube, is moving to late night with a new show on NBC.

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A Little Late with Lilly Singh will replace Carson Daly’s Last Call, making Singh the only woman–let alone woman of color–to host a daily late-night show for one of the big four networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox). Her show will start in September.

Singh announced the news on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night and said the show will be “kind of like my YouTube channel but just, you know, now I have more than three staff members.”

Despite Singh’s immense following on YouTube (14 million subscribers), a YouTube star’s journey to TV doesn’t always guarantee success. Note: The Grace Helbig Show, the 2015 late-night talk show on E! hosted by YouTuber Grace Helbig (2 million subscribers) that only lasted one season.

It stands to reason that Singh will have a better fighting chance to gain traction in the late-night space with the heft of NBC’s marketing budget and its ability to use The Tonight Show and Late Night with Seth Meyers as additional promotional tools leading into her 1:35 a.m. ET time slot. But what it’s really going to come down to is what Singh does with the platform and how she plans to differentiate herself in a crowded space.

Judging from her YouTube content, A Little Late with Lilly Singh will likely steer clear of any overt political satire, à la Last Week Tonight, Full Frontal, The Daily Show, or The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and lean more into sketches and celebrity interviews (she’s already done videos with Dwayne Johnson, Seth Rogen, Priyanka Chopra, and Selena Gomez). But how she plans to make a dent in that area that’s already dominated by James Cordon, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, and her new network-mate Fallon remains to be seen.

Regardless, any step away from the persistently white and male late-night landscape is one in the right direction.

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About the author

KC covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America," where he was the social media producer.

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