In late April, former Daily Show correspondent John Oliver kicked off his HBO news-satire program, Last Week Tonight. The premiere episode featured an exclusive televised interview with retired Gen. Keith Alexander, his first since stepping down as director of the National Security Agency. “The Cowboy of the NSA,” Foreign Policy magazine dubbed him. “Never before has anyone in America’s intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy,” Wired declared.
In other words, it was a pretty good get for John Oliver. So how, exactly, did Last Week Tonight — a fledgling late-night, cable TV comedy show hosted by a British comic — land this exclusive?
“I think we called him, I think that’s it,” Oliver says, laughing. “He was a good sport.”
Oliver, who spent nearly eight years at The Daily Show and has a solid background in political satire, is off to a good start. His weekly series — which offers biting commentary on the past week’s biggest news stories, both nat... Read more