Moving from a tiny network to a much bigger one would be daunting for a lot of people, but not TV and podcast hosts Desus Nice (Daniel Baker) and The Kid Mero (Joel Martinez), who departed Viceland last year for a new weekly late-night show on Showtime.
“I feel like we’re playing with the house’s money,” Mero said today at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in L.A., while Nice noted that when the duo started working together, he didn’t even have enough money for subway fare. “That’s where the confidence comes from: we can’t lose because we already won.”
Showtime’s first weekly late-night talk show, Desus & Mero—which premieres Thursday, Feb. 21, at 11 p.m. ET—will feature Desus and Mero talking with guests about pop culture, sports, music, politics and more. It will be a weekly series, which gives them more time to put together each episode compared to their nightly Viceland show.
That means more sketches and and more “deep dives” into topics that they never had a chance to do on their Viceland show, said Nice. “It is really going to come across in the new show, the production value.” Added Mero, “the old stuff we did, it was just us and a chair.”
The duo had a warning for guests: don’t expect to recite the same talking points about your new project that you’ve likely done on other talk shows.
“I don’t want you to do the same interview you did on another show when you come to our show,” said Nice, who doesn’t want guests only interested in promoting a new project, “because that turns the show into an advertisement.”
Explained Mero, “You can come on the show to promote something, but don’t come on the show only to promote something.”
Nice and Mero met while attending summer school in New York, “not because we were dumb, but because summer school has air conditioning,” said Nice.
The duo first teamed up for their Bodega Boys podcast and Desus vs. Mero web series before making their Viceland debut in October 2016.
The series quickly became one of Viceland’s biggest breakout shows and one of the only programs to deliver on the promise that Vice founder Shane Smith laid out for the network—that it would shake up linear TV—when it launched in February 2016.
But then Showtime poached them last June. Their final Viceland show aired on June 28.
Their Showtime series will give people “options” in late-night, said Nice, who watched Arsenio Hall as a kid. “That was so different from the other shows. That’s the energy we’d like to bring to late night.”
They also know that with delayed viewing, their show won’t really be watched at night. “Our show works whenever you want to watch it,” said Nice. “We could go on at 4 p.m. against Judge Judy.”