Thursday, July 15, 2010
Late Night Talk Shows Are In Big Trouble
Are the lights going out for TV's Late Night talk shows?
What Lights you may ask.
Readers have been telling me for years they watch their late talk shows while firmly ensconsed in bed with only a night light on.
But ratings are steadily dripping away and the days of power may be over for the Late Night comics who front these shows.
At NBC Jay Leno is averaging four million viewers a night in the U.S., down almost a million from what Conan O'Brien was getting.
And remember Conan got bounced from NBC because of his low numbers.
Over at CBS Letterman's numbers are off seven per cent from 2009 to 3.3 million.
Jimmy Fallon at ABC at midnight has dipped from two million to a current average of 1.64 million while CBS's Craig Ferguson a half hour later is in the same range.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are holding their own but not building on their base.
now I have a friend down my street who now watches soaps late at night. She tapes her favorite two afternoon soaps and after CTV News settles down tp two hours of organ music and tears.
Another acquaintance just bough the entire first season of West wing on sale in a DVD package and is going through the 22 episodes which leaves her no time for comedy.
In truth the plethora of options is dimming the once mighty popularity of the talk shows.
There'll never be another era like the one dominated by Johnny Carson whose opening monologue was much discussed the next day around office water coolers.
I'm more inclined to be dipping into a new movie just out on DVD (I'm watching Remember Me) right now or catch a classic on TCM.
Late night is feeling the changes of technology just as much as the afternoon soap operas which are fast dwindling away.
Also in trouble are the regularly scheduled network newscasts --24/7 news networks are slowly eating away at a once firm audience base.