Americans are not willing to let liberal politics to overwhelm their television time in late-night, as evidenced by new ratings data. Maybe if the late-night comics made everyone fair game like Jay Leno used to not just Donald Trump the ratings would improve?
Stephen Colbert joked about the president’s “feeble, fucking anemic firefly of a soul.” Seth Meyers teased that the vice president was somehow “already sunburned” before his visit to devastated Puerto Rico. And Jimmy Kimmel, that comedian turned public conscience, lectured all week long about everything from healthcare to mental health to gun control.
But chances are good you didn’t watch any of it because viewership isn’t doing so well. Of course, they’re still the kings of late-night comedy. Nobody has cast out that lineup because nobody has really showed up to watch.
While America was laughing at Twitter and watching YouTube videos, late night was slipping. Writing in the Transom, Ben Domenech of The Federalist points out that the late-night viewership of ABC, CBS, plus NBC this week barely broke 8 million viewers. Not long ago retired NBC funnyman Jay Leno was bringing in 6 million viewers all on his own.
What caused the network comics to start flopping? Obviously, the generational demographics and technological developments can’t be discounted — millennials don’t watch as much television, and if they do it’s online or after the fact. Assuming those younger viewers aren’t suddenly going to stay up late to watch broadcast TV, then maybe something else has to give.
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