Move Over, Jimmy Kimmel. Elmo Is Getting His Own Late-Night Talk Show
Elmo is taking on the late-night talk show circuit. Sesame Workshop announced last month that the adorably red, round-headed, high-pitched, ticklish monster beloved to toddlers and (most of) their parents will be staying up a little later than usual to chat it up with celebrities.
Here’s what we know about the Sesame Street star’s new nocturnal post.
How Elmo became the star he is today
Elmo’s furry red self joined Sesame Street in 1980. Originally meant to serve as a background monster on the children’s show, Elmo’s charismatic appeal to his young viewers eventually earned him top billing.
The Atlantic reported in 2011 that, in the early 1980s, Elmo was voiced with a harsh, gruff voice by his original puppeteer. At some point, that puppeteer felt he’d done all he could with Elmo and passed him on to colleague Kevin Clash, who was Elmo’s chief puppeteer until 2012.
Clash had time to think about what Elmo should really sound like. He told NPR in 2011 that he thought a falsetto voice would be best for a puppet who was supposed to be 3 1/2 years old.
“[When playing Elmo], I really go back to being me as a child growing up,” Clash says. “I definitely pull back into my childhood and how I was as a child.”
Why kids love Elmo
It’s hard to know exactly why kids love Elmo from the moment they meet him. Maybe it’s his friendly furry coat, or his large, warm eyes, or that playful voice. Whatever it is, kids connect with this character and laugh and learn along with him.
Puppeteer Clash offered a behind-the-scenes look at how Sesame Street figures out which muppets children are responding to positively.
“The research department goes out and watches the show with kids, to see how they react to certain characters,” he said in his NPR interview. “And Elmo just hit the charts as far as them really connecting to the little red monster. And not only laughing with him and enjoying him — but also learning what they’re supposed to be learning from the specific curriculum that was in the scripts with him.”
Clash said many parents, perhaps frustratingly, report that their child’s first word has been “Elmo” even before “Mom.”
“I get that a lot,” he says. “It’s like, ‘Do you know my child’s first word was Elmo?’ But they understand it, too. It’s nice to be a part of their life with their child.”
More about Elmo’s upcoming new job
Closing in on his 40th year as a Sesame Street muppet has been preparing Elmo for his upcoming moment of glory as a late-night show host. He’s cute, he’s easy to talk to, funny. Elmo is everything a network wants in its talent.
Tentatively called The Not Too Late Show with Elmo, the show will allow the Sesame Street resident to rub elbows with celebrity guests and show off his interviewing chops.
Not much is known right now about the show, except that it should be beginning production this month.
Elmo’s talk show is part of Sesame Street and HBO’s new partnership, according to USA Today. This new collaboration will create four brand new series (including Elmo’s new talk show), five new seasons of Sesame Street, and a new documentary series looking at challenges affecting kids and their families.
“As we celebrate 50 years of Sesame Street, and look to the future, we are thrilled to enter into this powerful partnership with HBO Max and their growing offering of best in class content,” Steve Youngwood, Sesame Workshop’s President of Media and Education and Chief Operating Officer said in a statement. “Producing this broad slate will help us deliver our mission to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.”