Now that the Winter Olympics are in the past for NBC, the late night lineup is back in nearly full strength. One Coco casualty notwithstanding, I for one am glad to have the talk shows back from break, along with some new SNL (that doesn't feature J-Lo), and this weekend Vampire Weekend returns to 30 Rockefeller Plaza with a number one album under their designer belt.
I've already profiled the Columbia grads twice in the past two months, but having seen their mind-bending recently released video for "Giving up the Gun," we might as well go to that well again. Featuring funny cameos from Jake Gyllenhaal, Joe Jonas, Lil' Jon and the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, their hasn't been a video with this many celebs since Jamie Foxx's ridiculous video for "Blame It," which appropriately enough also featured Jake Gyllenhaal. Fitting in with Vampire Weekend's Ivy league sensibilities, the video centers around a tennis tournament that looks like it was staged inside an Apple Store. RZA officiates, Lil' Jon coaches and Gyllenhaal hams it up playing with a fifth of whiskey in hand. Verdict: advantage Vampire Weekend.
Meanwhile, Jay Leno is back in his old familiar Tonight Show slot. Putting aside the fact that I don't find the chin very funny at all, I'm mourning the loss of music discovery that Conan (and Max Weinberg) at least tried to bring to the show. To wit, the best this week has to offer is overexposed artists Adam Lambert and Avril Lavigne (yawn). Music director (and laugh-at-anything) Kevin Eubanks has a foot out the door (staying on briefly for the re-launch, then moving out of the spotlight), so maybe they'll bring on someone to better for the job. But this is NBC, so consider expectations adjusted.
Elsewhere, Spoon makes it back to Letterman just ahead of their annual SXSW visit, and The Partridge Family is reuniting on the Today Show as part of the morning show's week long TV family reunions. While they're likely not performing (not a real band, only David Cassidy and Shirley Jones contributed to recordings), it's worth mentioning if only to point you to the Detroit-based "Soul Club" episode featuring Richard Pryor and Louis Gossett, Jr.
LATE ADDITION: Joanna Newsom was added to Friday night for Jimmy Fallon.
Playlist: Picks for the week
Monday, March 1
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Josh Turner
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Ludacris
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Daniel Merriweather
SYNDICATION: The Ellen Degeneres Show: Daniel Merriweather
Tuesday, March 2
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Jonny Lang
NBC: The Today Show: The Partridge Family
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Len: Adam Lambert
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Ludacris
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Phoenix
Wednesday, March 3
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Jet
FOX: Lopez Tonight: T-Pain
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Len: Avril Lavigne
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Erykah Badu
SUNDANCE: Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...: Elvis Costello, John Prine, Ray Lamontagne, Lyle Lovett (REPEAT)
Thursday, March 4
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Galactic
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Spoon
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Silversun Pickups
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Fanfarlo
Friday, March 5
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Regina Spektor
FUEL: The Daily Habit: The Soundtrack of Our Lives
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Joanna Newsom
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Arctic Monkeys
Saturday, March 6
NBC: Saturday Night Live: Vampire Weekend