The Graham Norton Effect was the first television show produced by So Television after its contract with Channel 4 ended. Short-lived, it only ran for one, twelve-episode series in 2004 on Comedy Central. In many ways a follow-up that year's NY Graham Norton, it was produced for the American market, where it debuted in June. Nevertheless, it did make it to other markets, including the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, the show ran on BBC Three, and was therefore Norton's first talk show to air on any part of the BBC. It was also Norton's final "pure" talk show prior to the debut of The Graham Norton Show in 2007.

Perhaps because NY Graham Norton had been filmed only a few months earlier, the two shows shared several guests. Several of the games Norton played with either the audience or the guests in NY were also repeated in Effect.

Due to the occasionally risqué nature of Norton's humour, some elements of the show were censored or bleeped by Comedy Central.

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