Picks and Pans Review: The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder

updated 09/07/1998 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/07/1998 01:00AM

CBS (weeknights, 12:37 a.m. ET)

The press has focused lately on this program's future: Tom Snyder says he'll quit "sometime late this year or in spring of 1999," and Craig Kilborn of Comedy Central's The Daily Show is signed to replace him. But, folks, the present is pretty good. With his brash yet folksy manner, his explosive laugh and those active eyebrows even Jack Nicholson must envy, the 62-year-old Snyder is still the formidable figure he was when he blew into late night with the NBC Tomorrow show back in 1973. His interviews are not mere segments in a comedy-talk-variety mix. They are instances of a television rarity: actual conversation. Most nights he does two in an hour, but last month he devoted a whole program to a delightful yarn-spinning session with Negro league baseball great Buck O'Neil. Sure, sometimes Snyder talks when you wish he'd listen. Sometimes he acts as if his show is about him. But you know what? At bottom, it is. The silver-haired Snyder is a TV personality who has a personality, and late night will seem gray when he's gone.

Bottom Line: Stay up and catch him while you can

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