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Late Night Talk Shows 2012 Year in Review


2012 was a quiet year for late night talk shows, a shift after the previous few years when turmoil at NBC between Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien resulted in the departure of Conan for TBS and the cancellation of Leno's short-term experiment, The Jay Leno Show.

The biggest news in late night was the many minor moves of Stephen Colbert , who ran for President of South Carolina as a part of the 2012 presidential campaign, was "seriously" considered for a potential senatorial appointment in December, and picked up his second Peabody for his satirical political work. Everything else? Pretty quiet. All the big, blustery stories were in the world of daytime talk shows. Even still, there were some notable moments:

1. Colbert Snags His Second Peabody Award

Colbert at the Colbert-Cain Rally in South Carolina
Richard Ellis/Getty Images
The Peabody Award recognizes excellence in television and radio broadcasting - and in April, The Colbert Report grabbed its second award. This time, the Peabody saluted Colbert's coverage of political SuperPACs, political action committees that are meant to have no coordination with candidates, but are often organized and managed by people close to the candidates, such as former staffers, business partners and close friends. Donors can fund SuperPACs without limits. Part of Colbert's satirical campaign included creating his own SuperPAC, "Citizens for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow."

2. Late Night Hosts Respond to Newtown Tragedy

Getty Images
Late night talk show hosts know it's hard to be funny when tragedy strikes on the scale of the December Newtown, Conn., school shooting. Most do little to hide that fact. And after the tragedy, hosts like Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman responded. Both gave stirring monologues addressing the tragedy and expressing their hope that a moment of levity might help ease the mind. "I want the people in Connecticut to know we do not take what you're going through lightly," said Kimmel, visibly moved. "And we're all thinking about you here a lot, all of us, even though we're at a talk show."

3. David Letterman’s Blackmailer Goes Back to Work

It didn't take long for Robert Halderman to return to television work. Halderman famously attempted to blackmail David Letterman, threatening to publically reveal a relationship Letterman was having with one of his co-workers. After serving four-months of a six-month sentence, Halderman was out and back in business with the Investigation Discovery Channel.

4. Larry King Returns with New Talk Show

Larry King
In a bit of a twist, talk show host Larry King came out of retirement in May, launching a new talk show, Larry King Now, on the fledgling Ora.TV network. Ora.TV is online, airing original programming digitally and on-demand. The show is stylized after King's CNN program, though only 30 minutes long. The digital format, however, allows the show to run longer or shorter as necessary.

5. Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ Goes Viral

Getty Images
Late Night host Jimmy Fallon sealed the deal as the most musical talk show host in decades with his stripped-down version of the hit song Call Me Maybe. The clip, which aired in June, was online only and featured hit singer Carly Rae Jepsen. Fallon's house band, The Roots accompanied on toy instruments. The video went viral and gave NBC a reason to do a Late Night musical special.

6. Carson Daly Expecting Second Child

It was a surprise to Last Call fans who learned that host Carson Daly and his longtime girlfriend, Siri Pinter, are expecting their second child. Pinter made the announcement on her official website, SIRIously delicious.

7. Arsenio Hall Announces He’s Coming Back to Late Night

Angela Weiss/Getty Images
Late night icon Arsenio Hall announced in June that he would make a return to late night television in a new talk show. The show - which doesn't have a name - will debut sometime in 2013. Hall made a bit of a television comeback as the winner of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice.
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