The New York Times John Koblin and apply all of their skill and experience to examine the apparent phenomenon of late night talk shows facing massive changes, and perhaps even extinction. “[A]s streaming has ascended, and network TV audiences and advertising revenue has dwindled, worries that late-night shows could be the latest genre affected by sweeping change are hitting virtually every corner of the entertainment world,” they write.
What’s going on here? Well, these career-long TV analysts conclude, viewers no longer have a “deep bond” to single late night hosts. Ratings have been sinking because of streaming, and so many alternative options for late night viewing. The cost to produce some late-night shows”is no longer feasible in an era of sinking ratings.”Late-night shows have also struggled to make the transition to streaming video, another consideration weighing on executives,” we are told, in part because “the topical opening monologue, a staple of the genre, has virtually no shelf life in streaming libraries.” Current late-night network hosts “don’t seem to want a lifetime appointment” unlike their predecessors like Johnny Carson, jay Leno and Letterman. “I think the Carson playbook of 40 years talking to celebrities is probably a thing of the past,” a former late night producer told the Times.
Is that it? I guess so: this long examination of factors and trens couldn’t find any other reason for the genre’s decline.
Funny…the reason I haven’t watched a late night talk show in almost eight years must be unusual: these media reporters don’t detect it. Funnier still, a substantial percentage of the readers who commented on the story seem to see the main reason for the rejection of such talks shows—the same reason I have—very clearly.
A sampling: Continue reading