Late Night Show Host Dan Cashman About Working in Talk
Dan Cashman is the host, creator, and an Executive Producer of “The Nite Show with Danny Cashman.” The show is a Maine-based late night talk show that is in its 11th consecutive season, and currently airs in all three of Maine’s TV markets including CBS.
Tell us about your credits. What have you worked on?
I would say The Nite Show is the biggest thing. I put a lot of time and effort into it for a lot of reasons. It’s not easy to produce a show like this in a small market, and thankfully there are a lot of people who help make it successful. Our house band is a six-piece jazz group and they are incredible. We have an announcer/co-host who has talent that is simply off the charts and she is an amazing personality, which absolutely shines on television. Our writers go above and beyond for the monologue in every show, and we have a few people who work behind the scenes to coordinate everything from audience seating (when we’re allowed to have an audience) to desk props. We also work with the New England School of Communications at Husson University in Bangor, and the students, faculty, and staff make the show look and sound amazing. The people involved in that program are second-to-none and so many students have gone on to do great things in the past ten years, and for good reason. It’s heartwarming to see them succeed in school and after graduation.
Beyond this show, my credits are relatively minor. I spent 4 years as the program director and on-air host at a CHR radio station in Bangor. I also owned a radio show for a short time more recently. I worked on a national documentary as a production assistant in the late 90s and was at MSNBC before that as an intern. I have written some material here and there for national productions in an uncredited role, sometimes just passing a joke along, and other times in a more unofficially official capacity.
My idol David Letterman famously said that he’s always either doing a show or thinking of doing a show. And even though our show is only on once a week, and it’s only seen in one state, I find myself in a similar boat. Any time I have an idea come to mind that I think is funny or creative, my first instinct is to figure out how it might fit into The Nite Show. And that’s really one of the joys of doing this kind of a show is that virtually any idea is at least possible. That allows for so much creative flexibility, as long as it makes sense for the audience and the budget.
What are you working on right now? Anything cool?
I’ll refer back to my quote from David Letterman. We just finished our 550th episode of The Nite Show, so we are gearing up for the second half of season 11. We have a fun parody in the works of a game show, adapted for the pandemic we’re all currently facing, and we will surprise our viewers by using the actual host of the show we are parodying in the sketch. He’s never been on the show before, so that’s fun. And we have some guests we’re prepping to see in person once we’re allowed to do so while also reaching out to guests who might join us virtually in the meantime.
One thing the pandemic has made me do is realize how fortunate we are to do this show, but also to realize that there is more potential. So we are developing some new ideas to pitch both locally and beyond. I wouldn’t say that the pandemic has freed up any time for us, but it’s certainly made us think a little differently. From that perspective, we’re working hard to bring new ideas to the forefront and see where they go.
So, my answer right now is “yes.” Yes I’m working on something cool...but maybe in a year I can explain what that is.
What advice do you have for others looking to break into the industry?
Start wherever you need to start, and build from there. I’m not in Hollywood, New York, or Chicago. I’m not an A-lister, even in Maine. But I’m doing what I love. To get to this point, I started by paying for airtime on a very tiny WB station in Bangor. We built an audience by working our tails off and being creative. Today, we’re still working our tails off, but we’re statewide in Maine, we’re getting guests we never thought we’d have on our show from all walks of life, and we’re doing really well in the ratings.
I also had to figure out where I wanted to be. I knew early on that I wanted to host a show like this, but I also knew that it didn’t matter if it was a national show. I realized during college that I love my home state of Maine and just wanted to stay here. A show like this hadn’t existed at that point, and local television in general had really scaled back since the 80s. So we just created what we wanted to do. 23 years later, it’s working out pretty well. Bangor has embraced the idea -- we were honored with the Bangor Chambers first ever Arts & Culture Award last year -- and the entire state tunes us in.
What’s one insider tip to success you’d give for others in 2021?
I’m taking three tracks on this one. The first two are quotes, and then my own advice.
David Letterman (again): “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.”
Johnny Carson: “If you don’t like what you’re doing, don’t do it.”
Me: Be kind, be flexible, and be yourself.
What’s your favorite TV show of 2020?
Oy. I like SO much TV right now. If I really had to pick one, it would be Schitt’s Creek.
If you let me pick two, I think Jimmy Kimmel Live has done some amazing things this year.
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