PEOPLE Q&A: Carson Daly

The Last Call host talks about getting older and embracing the Web

We don’t read about you in the gossip pages much anymore.
Isn’t it great? There is a God.

Well, where have you been?
I’m trying to re-enter the human race. All of my rock ‘n’ roll living at MTV and my fast-paced public relationships – a lot of the press that people associated me with was tied in with all of that. And as I got a little bit older and moved on to NBC I thought, “I’ve gotta grow up here.”

Has Last Call changed since your move to L.A. last year?
We shoot on the NBC lot, which is completely different form shooting on the Saturday Night Live set in New York. You’re constantly reminded that you work in TV-land. You drive onto the lot and see people dressed like pilgrims, and the cast of Days of Our Lives, and all the big stars going into the Tonight Show. We share a building with Ellen (DeGeneres). It’s been really good for our show.

Has NBC committed to giving you Conan’s slot when he takes over The Tonight Show in 2009?
No. They’ve been crazily supportive of us, (and) we’ve made it clear to them if there is ever a change we would love to be considered for an earlier time slot. We just try to do the best job we can. If it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.

You’re about to celebrate five years, right?
It’s crazy. When I first launched Last Call, I was still doing TRL and running from MTV to NBC, (so) it feels like it’s only been on a couple of years. But we’re thrilled that we’ve lasted five years. I’m starting to get more comfortable doing things like jokes at the top in the form of a monologue, and we have a house band, and we’ve been getting really good guests for our time slot.

Like who?
We had Lance Armstrong on recently. That was a real thrill for me, being a cycling fan. We’ve tried to embrace up-and-coming bands. Panic at the Disco! actually made their debut on our show. That’s really nice.

What exactly is It’s Your Show?
We’ve been around three months now and we have thousands of videos, and we’re pulling the best ones and creating a TV show to put them all on TV. The idea is: How do we take these amateur video makers and focus them? So we present challenges, and offer toolkits with audio, or video footage from NBC shows, and say, ‘Here. Use this stuff, and go make something. If it’s good we’ll pay you, and give you your 15 minutes of fame on television.’

And you’re hosting NBC’s New Year’s Eve special again this year.
We’re doing a pre-show on MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo, and then about 11:30, NBC will pick us up in progress and the show will officially start. And then we’ll stream the whole thing live on People are watching in many different forms now, and we want to be sure to reach them.

As you’re getting a little older, is it harder to stay in touch with youth culture?
I don’t think so. The 16-year-old girls aren’t the sole demographic that I’m concerned with, like I once was at TRL. Pop culture is a hobby to me. I love music, I love technology, I’m personally very interested in what the YouTube generation and Gen X and Gen Y are into. I live that life. I go to concerts and talk to kids all the time.

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