‘Late Night With Seth Meyers’ Axes House Band Amid Budget Cuts

NBC shakes up 'Late Night,' ending live music era

by Zain ul Abedin
‘Late Night With Seth Meyers’ Axes House Band Amid Budget Cuts
© Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

NBC recently confirmed the renewal of "Late Night With Seth Meyers" and extended its host's contract through 2028. However, as the show gears up for its 12th season next fall, it will undergo a significant change: the absence of its house band, marking a first in the show’s 44-year history.

The 8G Band, which has been a staple of the show and is led by "Saturday Night Live" alum Fred Armisen, will no longer perform live. This decision, confirmed by Deadline, stems from budget constraints affecting the broadcast industry.

Eli Janney, the associate musical director and a band member, shared insights in a Vulture interview about the evolving landscape of television entertainment.

Band Cut Amid Shifts

Janney pointed to the pressures from streaming services and digital platforms as key factors in the budget cuts.

"It’s a Spotify moment in music," he remarked, highlighting the broader devaluation of music in the digital age. The band was informed of this decision over a month ago by Meyers and showrunner Mike Shoemaker, impacting not only the musicians but also the crew associated with them.

"Late Night With Seth Meyers" differs from shows like "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," where live music is central to the format. Meyers' show has been known more for its sharp political commentary in segments like "A Closer Look" and features like the "Day Drinking" series, along with its celebrity interviews.

Despite the removal of live performances, the 8G Band members, including Seth Jabour and Syd Butler, will continue to contribute musically to the show behind the scenes. This shift reflects a broader trend in television where traditional elements are being reevaluated in response to financial realities and changing viewer preferences.

As the landscape of late-night television adapts, Meyers' show is poised to maintain its relevance through its strong comedic and analytical content, albeit without one of its longstanding musical components.