Tonight in San Diego, a Tonight Show-type variety show that has appeared on various cable outlets over its two-year history, has just been picked up by CW6, which will air it Saturdays at 11 p.m.
CW6 has agreed to air a new episode of Tonight in San Diego every week for 12 weeks starting February 4. After a month off, CW6 will then air another 12-week series of shows.
Each week the show will air a live set by a local group or solo artist who will then get to be interviewed on the couch by host Jesse Egan.
So far Tonight in San Diego has presented live sets by Dead Feather Moon, the Verigolds, Schizophonics, Tolan Shaw, Raelee Nikole, the Vokab Company, and Hiree. Booked to appear in coming weeks are Electric Voodoo, Bomb Squad, Trans Violet, Kinnie Dye, Grim Slippers, Ashley Foster, and Kut U Up.
Comedy juggling duo Nick & Alex
...on Tonight in San Diego, hosted by Jesse Egan
Tonight in San Diego will also tape a segment at the San Diego Music Awards on March 21 at the House of Blues. Executive Producer Fale Luis says all the music performers in March will be SDMA nominees.
The musical guest will follow other Tonight in San Diego segments that may include ponies from the Poway Polo Club, Cirque de Soleil performers, or state assemblyman Todd Gloria.
The first show of the new season will be taped Monday night at the Music Box and will be aired five days later. That show will feature Internet phenom Charlie Rae as the musical guest and Chad Michaels, the winner of Ru Paul’s Drag Race Allstars. Producer Luis welcomes anyone who wants to attend Monday’s taping. “It’s a big room to fill,” he says.
Luis says most of the subsequent shows will be taped at the usual Tonight in San Diego studio, the 100-seat Geoffrey Off Broadway at Spreckels, a room, jokes Egan, that is usually “used to store broken seats for the Spreckels Theater.”
Just as Harrah’s Casino signed on to be a major sponsor of NBC7’s SounDiego, Luis says he hopes a major advertiser will step up to support Tonight in San Diego. He says he did not have to buy the hour from CW6, but that “We are grateful they have faith in us,” and that the station will sell the commercials. Luis says he has to cover all the production costs himself, unlike, say, SounDiego, which is produced in-house by the NBC7 production crew. “The good side of that is that we answer to ourselves. We create our own model,” Luis explains.
Jesse Rone Johnson
...live performance on Tonight in San Diego
Luis says he was given the slot partly because he asked CW6 at the right time. “I saw they had a two-and-a-half hour block of Tosh.0 and I thought I would ask for one of those hours.” Luis knows that Saturday Night Live starts halfway through Tonight in San Diego, but he says ideally SNL fans may flip between the two shows.
Luis gave up his day job in corporate event sales at the Hilton Bayfront so he could oversee Tonight in San Diego. He says considering his modest budget, “We are putting out a better product than we should be. People show up and see the lights, the booms, and the multiple cameras and realize this is not just another show at the Soda Bar or a stand-up comedy set at the Madhouse.”
Luis was surprised to hear that KUSI launched San Diego Tonight in May. He says he has no problem that the show would be San Diego–focused with a Tonight Show format just like Tonight in San Diego. His concern was that the name seemed to be a direct rip-off. He says he met with San Diego Tonight producer Tommy Sablan to encourage a name change but was ignored. He thought about but then declined to take legal action.
Hosted by former the Jeff & Jer radio show host Jerry Cesnak, San Diego Tonight was canceled after ten weeks. Was it karma, I asked Luis? “Sure, maybe. But I think a big part of their problem is they would tape shows so far in advance and they couldn’t be topical. I also think Jerry had an older demographic. We want to be hipper, younger, and topical.”
A staff of seven writers write material for host Egan (a comic who once won a Funniest Comic in San Diego contest) and co-host Keith Foster, who Luis says was named “Idaho’s funniest person.”
Luis says the CW6 episodes of Tonight in San Diego will not be as bawdy as, say, the October episode where former FM-9/49 DJs Chris Cantore and Steven Woods were subjects of a roast. Emcee Egan told how two of the roasters were particularly kinky and then described a sex act.