Review: Nick Cannon gets a hyperactive, bumpy start to new syndicated talk show

·3 min read

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story was based on an out-of-sequence episode of "Nick Cannon" that aired on one local affiliate. It has been updated to include details from the series premiere.

Nick Cannon is back. Again.

The perennial TV personality has yet another outlet on the small screen, a new syndicated talk show, "Nick Cannon" (premiering Monday, check local listings). The host of "The Masked Singer" is now a talk show host, not exactly a stretch considering his long resumé.

But while Cannon slides pretty comfortably into the role of daytime talk-show host, it's worth asking whether he adds anything to the current roster, which includes the lauded "Kelly Clarkson Show," "Wendy Williams" and more.

After Monday's opening episode, it doesn't appear as if "Cannon" will be essential viewing for many, although if you are a big fan of Cannon, you will surely like this version of the celebrity, in which he turns his quirks and personality up to an 11.

Nick Cannon's new self-titled syndicated talk show premieres Monday.
Nick Cannon's new self-titled syndicated talk show premieres Monday.

Cannon's show has a casual vibe, with his masked audience shouting "Hey, Nick!" on beat with his theme song – which he penned and sings himself, with the help of some of his kids – after every commercial break.

The premiere opened with a few introductory segments, including a series of remote well wishes from Canon's famous friends such as "Saturday Night Live" star Kenan Thompson, Terry Crews and Tyra Banks, and a tour of the studio, which includes a shoe wall, a candy bar and a fire pole (the candy bar might explain Cannon's bouncing-off-the-walls energy). These were followed by a prank on Kevin Hart (Cannon's self-described best "frenemy") and a feel-good segment in which Cannon brought his "gimme-a-break" bus, complete with massage therapists and champagne, to help a family of nurses who have been working hard during the pandemic. A sing-along in the episode's final minutes with Cannon at the piano closed out the hour.

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The show doesn't appear to have opening day jitters like many debuting talk shows. Cannon is a seasoned broadcaster who is instantly comfortable on camera, no matter what he's hosting. But perhaps the whole concept of the talk show needed a bit more practice and refinement before it went to air. The pre-interview segments – from the "damn cam" to "Nick's pic of the day" – felt like a strobe light of content. Short, loud and sporadic, Cannon rushed through his bits so fast it seemed unlikely he'd have enough material to cover the show's hourlong run time.

His interview with Hart suffered because the two are a bit too friendly and giggly together (a problem overly chummy hosts like Jimmy Fallon also have). A lot of the better moments from the episodes were in prerecorded segments that were a little less frenetic and better paced. An interview in a subsequent episode with "The Daily Show" comedian Roy Wood Jr. felt more natural and informative.

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Whether "Cannon" will be a celebrity talk show that stands the test of time or is more of a Kris Jenner-style flash in the pan remains to be seen. But considering how Cannon has weathered setbacks and controversies over his long career and continued working, it's unlikely this show will be the last we see of him, hit or not.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Nick Cannon' talk show review: A bumpy, hyper start

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