Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of January 16

The week starts off with two repeats of note tonight (Monday).  Amy Adams, who plays a linguist in the recent film Arrival, is on tonight’s Jimmy Kimmel Live repeat (it originally aired last week).  If you missed the MythBusters build team (Kari Byron, Tori Belleci, and Grant Imahara) on Last Call last month, it’s on again late tonight.  The first season of their new program, White Rabbit Project, is available on Netflix.

As happens occasionally, cast members who play scientists on The Big Bang Theory make the rounds.  This week Johnny Galecki can be seen Thursday night on The Late Show, and his co-star Jim Parsons will be on Late Night.  Parsons can also be seen in Hidden Figures, the film about NASA mathematicians in the early space race.

On Tuesday, Lyft co-founder John Zimmer will be a guest on The Daily Show (which is airing a rare Friday episode in connection with the Inauguration).  Michael Lewis will sit down with Conan O’Brien that same night, likely to discuss his latest book, The Undoing Project, which chronicles a scientific collaboration on decision-making research.


Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of January 9

All shows are back on in new episodes this week.  The pickings are relatively slim, unfortunately.

Hidden Figures, which just took first place in the U.S. box office this weekend, dominates the listings.  A repeat of Kevin Costner’s appearance with Jimmy Kimmel (he plays a senior NASA official in the film) is on again Friday.  Apologies for overlooking this in last week’s post.  Also visiting Mr. Kimmel from the film is Octavia Spencer.  She’ll be by on Thursday.  Arrival star Amy Adams visits the show on Tuesday.

Tonight (Monday) is yet another new episode of Star Talk.  The main guest is astronomer Jill Tarter and the topic of discussion is aliens.  Also tonight on The Daily Show you can watch Trevor Noah interview new editor-in-chief of National Geographic Susan Goldberg.

MythBusters: The Search continues on Saturdays, but only through the end of February.

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of January 2

Welcome to 2017, everyone.  Regrettably outside forces are keeping me to a weekly posting schedule, but I am still Tweeting.

Some shows are continuing their holiday breaks this week, even if just for tonight.  Of this week’s repeats, Thandie Newton’s recent appearance with Carson Daly airs again on Wednesday.  Newton plays one of the androids on the HBO series Westworld.

StarTalk continues Season 3 tonight with a focus on sports.  The main guest is soccer goalie Hope Solo, and sports psychologist Brent Walker is also part of the show.

Relevant guests from this week’s new programs are courtesy of the historical drama Hidden Figures, which chronicles the work of some of the human computers the agency employed during the space race. The movie is opening wider, and you can catch Taraji Henson talk about it on Tuesday with Jimmy Kimmel.  The same night her co-star Janelle Monae will talk with James Corden.  Corden hosts another Hidden Figures actor, Jim Parsons, on Wednesday.

As I type this the MythBusters MegaMarathon is in it’s final 13 hours.  The competition to find the next set of MythBusters starts on Saturday, with the television show MythBusters: The Search.  I’m not sanguine about reality competition shows, but that is likely my only serious concern with an attempt to do a MythBusters sequel that involves all new hosts.  After all, if part of what makes MythBusters good television is the chemistry of the hosts, I’m not sure how that’s effectively reviewed in a competition show.  And if former MythBusters Imahara, Byron and Belleci weren’t already doing a new project on Netflix, I might be more put off by The Search.  Regardless, 10 contestants will somehow be whittled down to some smaller number to attempt to put lightning back in a bottle.  Good luck with that.

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of December 26

Very little new this week in the listings, and Conan as well as the Comedy Central programs are pre-empted this week.  The MythBusters marathon continues, of course, as airing over 250 hours takes a bit of time.

There is a new StarTalk episode tonight, featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson’s interview with Defense Secretary Ash Carter.  The episode will cover future warfare as well as current uses of satellites and space technology to support the military.

This week’s repeats feature several science and technology-themed guests and segments.  Rami Malek of Mr. Robot is on again with Jimmy Kimmel tonight (Monday).  With Passengers now in theaters, you can revisit some late night appearances of the two leads.  Chris Pratt’s Tonight Show appearance will re-air on Tuesday, and Jennifer Lawrence’s latest appearance with Jimmy Kimmel will air again on Thursday.  Likewise, Hidden Figures is now out in limited release and you can catch a repeat of star Taraji Henson’s appearance on Late Night this Thursday.

Thursday is the big night this week, as The Late Show will re-air its December episode with Vice President Biden.  One segment of his interview involves the Cancer Moonshot and the recently signed into law Faster Cures legislation.  Finally, Alton Brown’s recent appearance on Last Call will air again late Friday night.

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of December 19

Not all late night programs have started their Christmas breaks yet.  The Comedy Central programs are pre-empted this week, and a few of the broadcast shows will air through the end of this week.

Star Talk also has a new episode tonight (Monday).  The featured guest is William Shatner, and the power of science fiction will once again be a theme of the program (especially if you count the podcast-only editions of both StarTalk Live and the recently added StarTalk All-Stars).  Tyson can also be seen on this week’s all-new episode of Science Goes to the Movies.  The episode covers the Ice Age films, which Tyson will no doubt criticize for their lack of scientific realism (putting aside the notion of talking animals).  It has already premiered on CUNY TV, and should be available soon via the show’s website.  (You area may also air the show on a PBS affiliate.  Check those local listings.)

Looking at the week’s repeats, you can both Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence visiting with Ellen last month to promote the newly released film Passengers.  Lawrence is also on tonight’s (Monday’s) new edition of Watch What Happens Live on Bravo.  Pratt will sit down with Stephen Colbert on Friday’s Late Show.

Hidden Figures will premiere in limited release on Christmas Day.  Janell Monae, one of the leads, will appear on Tuesday’s Tonight Show to promote the film.  Jim Parsons is also in the film (he usually plays a scientist on The Big Bang Theory), and will be on Thursday’s edition of the show.  The film chronicles the work of NASA human computers (a team of African American women) as they support the Mercury astronauts.

While he is currently best known as the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be on with Conan this Tuesday.

During the upcoming holiday break, you can fill the gap with the MythBusters mega-marathon, starting on the 23rd.  The MythBusters build team can now be streamed on Netflix as The White Rabbit Project.  You can also catch a few segments from recent programs.  On December 6 The Daily Show addressed how the military is trying to do its job in a more green fashion.  On the December 12 episode of Full Frontal, host Sam Bee talked about government surveillance (Russian and others), including an interview with Chris Soghoian, chief technologist at the ACLU.

As I’m still stuck on weekly posts, I’ll wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and see you next week.

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of December 12

We have not yet entered the Christmas break for various shows.  Listings here might increase next week with the December 21 release of Passengers, a science fiction film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt as passengers on a sleeper ship that wake up decades ahead of schedule.  Lawrence will appear with Jimmy Kimmel tonight (Monday) with James Corden on Tuesday, and on the episode of Chelsea released on Friday.  Pratt can be seen with Corden tonight (Monday) and on Tuesday’s edition of Conan.

Tonight’s (Monday’s) episode of Star Talk features comedian and former Tonight Show host Jay Leno.  Leno also hosts a car show online and on CNBC called Jay Leno’s Garage.  Tyson is featured on that show this week (which airs on Wednesday’s) when the two drive a jet propelled car.  Cars and comedy will be themes in tonight’s Star Talk episode.

The big news is that The White Rabbit Project is now available on Netflix.  Hosted by Kari Byron, Tori Belleci and Grant Imahara (the MythBusters Build Team), the show takes deep dives into various topics like jailbreaks.  They are ranked (which raises the same kinds of questions and challenges that faced Craig Ferguson’s Join or Die program on The History Channel).  I have not yet watched the show, but the hosts have been making the rounds, and will appear really late Tuesday on Last Call with Carson Daly.  You can watch all of this season’s episodes now via Netflix.

In related MythBusters news, Science Channel has announced the premiere for MythBusters: The Search, a reality competition show that will somehow find the next hosts of a new version of MythBustersThe Search premieres on January 7, probably the last day of the now annual MythBusters mega-marathon (which starts December 23).

This is actually a pretty active week, because there’s more.  Mr. Robot star Rami Malek is visiting Jimmy Kimmel Tuesday and Jim Parsons is on with Ellen this Friday.  Parsons plays a scientist on The Big Bang Theory, but he is also in the upcoming film Hidden Figures.  This film follows the efforts of several of NASA’s human computers, many of them African-American women, as they work on the early space missions.

I’m a bit behind on some of the late night programs, but I must note that during Vice President Joe Biden’s December 6 appearance on The Late Show, he talked about the 21st Century Cures act (not yet signed by the President at the time of the taping) and the Cancer Moonshot.  Colbert lets the Vice President just talk, probably out of a combination of deference and a relative lack of knowledge on either topic.

There were also two series that have featured science and technology topics as part of episode plots.  The Supergirl episode “Changing” featured a climate change researcher as a key character (and much more will be spoiling things).  As is often the case, Elementary has used science, technology, and practitioners of both as key drivers of its stories.  In the current season the strongest example of this is the episode “Henny Penny the Sky is Falling” which concerns asteroid research.

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of December 5

The Thanksgiving vacations are done for the late night programs, and none to soon to get ready for the Christmas breaks.

Tonight’s edition of Star Talk features actor Terry Crews.  The show will focus in part on Crews former career as a professional football player to discuss diet and exercise.  For the show not to address brain trauma would be an unfortunate oversight.

There’s a special Conan program on Wednesday the 7th.  Continuing a series of foreign specials, this prime time program will focus on a recent trip to Berlin.  I don’t know whether or not there would be a science and/or technology component of the show.  There is also a regular episode of Conan that night, and Melissa Rauch, who plays a scientist on The Big Bang Theory, will appear.

The week’s offerings are thin.  However, two of the lead cast in Hidden Figures, the forthcoming movie about NASA mathematicians, are appearing on shows this week.  Octavia Spencer is on with Stephen Colbert this Thursday, while castmate Taraji P. Henson is on with Seth Meyers the same night.

I’ll end with a note of last week’s Tim Daly interview with Stephen Colbert.  Part of the November 30th program, the two discussed Daly’s work in arts advocacy, and at around 5:15 in the segment, Daly discusses a recent experience he had at a Brian Cox (the physicist, not the actor) that prompted him to realize how artists can place scientific endeavors in an emotional context.