YouTube star Lilly Singh makes bold leap to late-night TV

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The stubborn curfew barring female hosts from late-night network TV is about to be challenged. Viewer warning: expect more rule-breaking when NBC’s A Little Late With Lilly Singh debuts.

Singh is attempting the leap from YouTube sensation to broadcast headliner in a single bound, doesn’t plan to dwell on the late-night staple of politics and is only the second woman of colour to host a nightly show on a major network since former VH1 VJ Cynthia Garrett was in charge of NBC’s Later for a year — two decades ago.

It’s been more than three decades since Joan Rivers’ equally brief tenure as the first woman to host a daily late-night show, on Fox.

Is Singh ready to face the weight of expectations? Yes, said the Canadian-born daughter of Indian immigrants, who established herself online with “Superwoman” as her nickname and was the only woman on Forbes’ 2017 list of highest-paid YouTube stars with estimated earnings of USD10 million.

“Inevitably, it’s a lot of pressure. It’s also a huge honour, and I’m focussing on the latter part,” said Singh, who will be 31 on September 26. “I’m focussing on how exciting this business is and how much it could mean, rather than focussing on, ‘Oh my God. What will people think, and what if this messes up?’ So I’m just having fun while I do it and I think that’s going to get the best result, ultimately.”

Singh is a “flat-out star” and NBC has full confidence in her, said network executive George Cheeks, who shares the title of NBC Entertainment co-chairman with Paul Telegdy.

“Lilly is bold, inherently positive and hilarious,” Cheeks said. “She has such a different perspective than anyone else on television right now, and she embraces her whole self authentically and without apology. Paul and I have often said that if she had never been on YouTube and came in to audition with zero social media presence, we would have given her this show. Her talent transcends platforms and she has this undeniable charisma that immediately pulls you into her orbit.”

Lilly Singh. PHOTO: AP