Seth Meyers to Lose ‘Late Night’ Band in Budget Cuts

NBC isn’t cutting “Late Night” off the network’s regular schedule, but it is going to cut the show’s budget.

The 8G Band, a signature element of the Seth Meyers-led program since it launched in 2014, will stop appearing on the after-hours NBC show, commencing in the fall. Eli Janney, the combo’s keyboardist, told Vulture Tuesday that the trio was informed in recent weeks that the band would cease to be a regular part of the program due to budget cuts.

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“In the end, NBC was adamant about where they wanted the budget to go,” Janney told the entertainment-news site. “It’s not just the band; there’s a whole crew that works with the band, so there’s a lot of people employed. I think this was an easy way for them to cut the budget. Easy is not the right word.”

NBC declined to make executives available for comment, but a person familiar with the program confirmed that the band will not appear starting in the fall.

NBC in May announced it had renewed “Late Night With Seth Meyers” through 2028, backing the 12:30 a.m. program after a period of speculation about whether it would continue in an era when late-night programing has come under new scrutiny. The shows remain popular cultural touchstones, but the new ways in which people watch them — perusing clips via social-media — have sapped their strength in the ratings, forcing the TV networks to examine the finances of the programs.

Several hosts have exited in the recent past, including James Corden, Conan O’Brien, Trevor Noah and Samantha Bee. In some cases, networks like CBS and Comedy Central have devised lower-cost models to replace them. CBS replaced its “The Late Late Show” with “@fter Midnight,” a game-show format that relies on host Taylor Tomlinson and a rotating trio of comics. Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” boasts host Jon Stewart once a a week, then uses the program’s squad of correspondents to fill the rest of its four-days-per-week schedule.

The 8G Band has been a steadfast part of Meyers’ format. Recruited by former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Fred Armisen, The 8G Band was staffed by Janney, guitarist Seth Jabour and bass player Syd Butler. A different drummer filled in that position each week, and Armisen made occasional appearances.

A band has been part of most late-night proceedings for decades, with musicians such as Paul Shaffer, Max Weinberg, Kevin Eubanks, Reggie Watts and Doc Severinsen known for their work, respectively, with David Letterman, Jay Leno, Corden and Johnny Carson. CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” relied on Jon Batiste, and now depends on Louis Cato. The Roots represent an important part of NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” while “Saturday Night Live” has had a band since it launched in 1975.

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