12/31/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Elvis Costello's New Talk Show: The Host Sings

ELVIS COSTELLO would be a natural on TV -- or so people kept telling him. For years he believed it, entertaining meetings with the BBC and others as far back as the late 1980s about developing his own show. But nothing stuck, even after he filled in as a host of "Late Show" when David Letterman was recovering from shingles in 2003.

Cue Elton John. Mr. John and David Furnish, his partner, are friends of Mr. Costello's through his wife, the jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall. (The two were married at Mr. John and Mr. Furnish's English castle in 2003.) So last year, when Mr. Furnish was approached by a Canadian production company about creating a music-oriented program, one frontman came to mind.

"David and I were sitting in our house in France," Mr. John said in a phone interview, "and we said, wouldn't it be great to do a proper, full-length musical show, because we live in a sound-bite culture. Elvis has experience, he's got an encyclopedic knowledge of music. We're both completely anorak, as they say in Britain, geeks or nerds, on music. He's the one."

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