Announced today, Last Call host Carson Daly is taking a new position with the Today Show on NBC. What's unclear is the future of Carson's late night show - but for all practical purposes, the show has been put on permanent hiatus until NBC decides what it wants to do. It may continue on with a new host, be revamped entirely, or quietly ushered away to television history. Regarding the show, NBC said "plans for a transition will be announced at a later date,” but there's no way to know what kind of transition that may actually be.
For those of you who don't know, I've been a camera operator on Last Call for nearly four years, and we were actually scheduled to start shooting season 13 at the beginning of this month. Last Call has been an immensely enjoyable show for me to work on, and I've made many great friends on the show that I hope to keep for years to come. For the last few years, we've shot nearly the entire show on DSLR's, in practical locations, with a mini-van load of basic lighting and grip gear to help out. I think the show has pushed the boundaries of what is possible in an ultra low-budget late-night talk show - and we're fortunate to have been able to work on the show for as long as we have been.
It was a pretty tough pill to swallow when I first heard that Last Call was not going to continue. I quickly realized how much I'd begun to rely on the show as a big chunk of my income, and television is a fickle business. You spend a lot of time working on a single project, making friends that soon become family, and dedicating countless hours to figuring out the ropes and how to make the production hum pleasantly along - then, as quickly as it started, it's gone. That's just the nature of the best.
The danger of being on a show like this, or anything that is relatively constant and reliable, is that you become comfortable. And I was certainly comfortable on Last Call! But the blessing in disguise for having a job disappear is the fire it lights to get you to hustle. Being complacent in this business is being stagnant. And let's face it, with today's technology and industry changing faster every day, being stagnant is basically moving backwards. So for as thankful as I am of the time I spent shooting Last Call, I'm just as thankful for the inspiration that it's sudden void has given me. It's been the catalyst to get me to work on elements of my career that I'd been postponing for a long time. If you're ever in a similar situation and on the precipice of the unknown, remember - your best work is still ahead of you.
Oh, and I'll still keep a couple of fingers crossed that Last Call will continue in some way that I can be involved in; but I'm not going to hold my breath.