The Kilborn File

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
The Kilborn File TV Poster Image
Snarky talk show veteran returns; some iffy stuff.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Everybody is a potential target in this topical talk show, which makes fun of just about anything -- and anyone.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kilborn mercilessly mocks anyone and anything, whether they're a celebrity who committed a faux pas or a politician caught in an inconsistency. He delivers equal-opportunity snark and bite, without fear or favor.


Some innuendo and references to sex, usually humorous. A few shots of women in skimpy attire.


The show features interviews with celebrities who often promote their movies, TV shows, or other projects.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several references to taking drugs and drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, like other humor-driven talk shows, this topical series hosted by talk show veteran Craig Kilborn mixes news-based humor with skits and interviews -- all delivered with a snarky bite. Anything and anyone newsworthy is ripe for mocking, from celebrities to politicians. Expect a few racy innuendoes and references to drugs and alcohol. It's worth noting that while this show resembles late-night series like The Tonight Show in content and format, it airs before primetime rather than after.

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What's the story?

Craig Kilborn -- veteran host of The Daily Show, The Late Late Show, and SportsCenter -- is back with THE KILBORN FILE, a daily topical humor series. He packs the standard late-night format into a breezy, 30-minute, early-evening version (it airs at 7 p.m.) that features an opening joke-filled monologue, quick skits, and a celebrity interview. The show's early-evening slot means that it’s a bit less racy than its late-night counterparts, but there’s still plenty of innuendo and jokes about celebrity peccadilloes, scandals, and bad behavior.

Is it any good?

Kilborn has a smooth, easygoing manner -- not surprising since he’s spent plenty of time behind the talk-show desk. But his material isn't especially witty. The jokes are easy to see coming, and he’s not always subtle about setting up his guests to hit a softball punchline. Some of the sequences feel morel ike scripted content than an organic conversation.

In a field crowded with talented entertainers, it takes a lot to set yourself apart from the talk-show pack, and it’s not yet clear whether Kilborn will be able to establish himself as a must-watch or whether he'll fade into the background like so many other comedians who deliver the same shtick.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about topical talk shows. How is this series different from Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, David Letterman, etc? What does it take to stand out and succeed in this competitive area?

  • Who do you think is the funniest talk show host? Where does Kilborn stand in comparison to his peers?

  • How do shows like this one influence other areas of the media?

TV details

  • Premiere date: June 28, 2010
  • Cast: Craig Kilborn
  • Network: Fox
  • Genre: Comedy
  • TV rating: NR
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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