Late Night Network TV Shows Are Dead, They Just Don't Know It


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Sit down. I have bad news. The self-anointed kings of late-night TV think they are on hiatus, but they are really dead. They just don’t know it.

Read on after you’ve had a moment.

I knew that Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert were on a forced break. I read it somewhere, likely on RedState. The sets are dark because the writers who produce what passes as comedy skits and opening monologues are walking picket lines – with misspelled signs.

You have to admit, misspelling a writer picket strike sign is comedy gold. Unintentional – but gold. All those shows are airing retreads. However, one late-night show is airing new episodes. “Gutfeld!” is still pumping out new shows with new material and hosting new guests. How does he manage such sorcery? Gutfeld doesn’t rely on writers. He and his staff write their own material. Gutfeld’s show is also fundamentally different from Jimmy, Jimmy, and Stephen. It’s entertaining and funny.

Gutfeld! is drawing two million viewers a night. Has anyone really noticed that The Tonight Show is retreading its May 1, 2023, Rosie O’Donnell show? Apparently not. If you care to know, Rosie looks like Nathan Lane with 50 extra pounds. She and Jimmy collectively hyperventilated over Broadway shows and TikTok videos. You’re caught up. You’re welcome.

Fox News reported:

Viewership across the late-night landscape had been dropping long before the writers strike. In 2018, the midpoint of Trump’s presidency, Colbert averaged 3 million viewers. In 2023, the “Late Show” audience fell to 2.1 million, losing nearly a third of viewers the process. Fallon lost almost half of his audience during the same timeframe, going from an average of 2.3 million viewers in 2018 to 1.3 million in 2023.

Kimmel, who notably expressed he didn’t mind in 2017 if viewers were turned off by his liberal politics, shed roughly half a million viewers since 2018, averaging just 1.5 million this year.

Eventually, writers and actors will run out of peanut butter sandwiches, and the strike will end. Jimmy Kimmel’s writers will return to the writers’ room, and at some point, one of them will say:

Hey…how about we mock Trump? Let’s have the set guys build a courtroom and paint it… bright orange!? Jimmy can put on “Orangeface” and pretend to be Trump and say, “I object, I Orangeman object!”

CNN Business recognizes that the days of Late-Night dominance on network TV are over. People have multiple choices, and most people don’t want to be fire-hosed with unfunny monologues and political lectures or dancers in needle costumes close to bedtime.

What’s happening to late-night TV? The gradual shift away from linear TV to streaming does not look hospitable to traditional late-night shows, which lean heavily on jokes about the news of the day and topical comedy. Streaming shows by nature are not about immediacy and go for broader relevance over longer periods of time.

There is a “science” behind what makes us laugh, and what it is, is something objectively funny. What it isn’t is hearing the same routine mocking the same subject over and over and over again.

Michael Jordan said, “Republicans buy sneakers too.”

What Jordan meant was: If you intentionally alienate at least half the population, you’re going to lose at least half your audience.

Bud Light learned that lesson the hard way. Late Night TV thinks it is on a short break, and it will be business as usual. But it won’t be. Late Night Network TV is like Bruce Willis’ character in The Sixth Sense. It’s dead. It just doesn’t know it.

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Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

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