The Crownless King-to-Be of Late Night TV

The Crownless King-to-Be of Late Night TV

How does Stephen Colbert's succession to the Late Show fit into the history of Late Night TV? Will he get the ratings? MovieBob tackles the big questions.

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Colbert's got a lot more to him than politics. People forget that because of the heavily political nature of his current show, but I rather suspect he's excited to be able to cover a much wider variety of topics.

Of course, if he's still too political for people, there's always Fallon with his geek appeal, or Craig Ferguson with his more zany comedy-oriented shtick.

P.S. Thanks

MovieBob:
This was also the nitty-gritty reality behind the "Purge" itself, if we're being honest... If Petticoat Junction's homespun audience could've been relied upon to respond to ads for new fashions, new appliances etc as well as The Mary Tyler Moore Show's, it would've stayed on the air. Maude's audience was more likely to buy new cars, Andy Griffith's audience was more likely to just keep fixing their old one - if you're General Motors, which show do you advertise on?

So what you're saying is that the Jay Leno crowd is being rejected not because they're a bunch of out-of-touch old fogeys, but because they're not shallow and materialistic enough.

That's a scary thought.

Steve the Pocket:
So what you're saying is that the Jay Leno crowd is being rejected not because they're a bunch of out-of-touch old fogeys, but because they're not shallow and materialistic enough.

That's a scary thought.

Why is it scary? It's the reality of how advertising-supported entertainment has worked since the postwar era. It's just the consequence of an economy that's fixated on getting consumers to make emotionally-motivated purchases of things they don't really need. How many consumers above the age of 65 want a smartphone? How many are going to drop upwards of $400+ on one? How many are going to buy a $500 video game console or a $30,000+ SUV? It doesn't really matter how much money the aging boomer demographic has if they're more worried about paying for their retirement than buying the latest gadget. Let them watch the cable news networks, where they can see all the ads for Cialis and Craftmatic beds they want.

Steve the Pocket:

So what you're saying is that the Jay Leno crowd is being rejected not because they're a bunch of out-of-touch old fogeys, but because they're not shallow and materialistic enough.

No, I don't think that's what Bob is saying.

The people of Leno's generation are super-materialistic and shallow. The thing is that they are so old, that they already have most of their material needs, so there's not much point in selling new things to them. Most of their money will be going to things like health care and inheritances for their grandchildren.

Can the end of "heartland America" or "real america" or "Values voters" just be already. I've been hearing this line from both sides of the political spectrum since I've been alive, and know it's existed even longer then that.

This is a fascinating breakdown of a corner of the culture that I ultimately know nothing about.

Scorpid:
Can the end of "heartland America" or "real america" or "Values voters" just be already. I've been hearing this line from both sides of the political spectrum since I've been alive, and know it's existed even longer then that.

Gen-X has finally started to take political power from the voters. The problem is that they've let the boomers sit around too long. The old-guard is so entrenched that they can take an actual reform movement and turn it racist (does anyone even remember the TEA party before the "Tea party express" coopted it?). So now we have the younger generations pretty explicitly saying "oh, as soon as you die or retire, we're ripping your legacy to shreds because you're not listening, and haven't forever"

So yah, the last rhetorical descendant of the "silent majority" is going to be purged. However, there's no real hurry because every time their oncoming irrelevance comes up, they yell, scream, and make everything worse to show they're still "important".

MCerberus:

Scorpid:
Can the end of "heartland America" or "real america" or "Values voters" just be already. I've been hearing this line from both sides of the political spectrum since I've been alive, and know it's existed even longer then that.

Gen-X has finally started to take political power from the voters. The problem is that they've let the boomers sit around too long. The old-guard is so entrenched that they can take an actual reform movement and turn it racist (does anyone even remember the TEA party before the "Tea party express" coopted it?). So now we have the younger generations pretty explicitly saying "oh, as soon as you die or retire, we're ripping your legacy to shreds because you're not listening, and haven't forever"

So yah, the last rhetorical descendant of the "silent majority" is going to be purged. However, there's no real hurry because every time their oncoming irrelevance comes up, they yell, scream, and make everything worse to show they're still "important".

I agree mostly with what your saying here. The only thing I see differently is that the gen-xers haven't had much choice but to keep the boomers around. Previous generations would usually hand over the reigns of power/control when they felt the younger generation was ready. In this way the younger generation would receive opportunity from the older generations. Sadly the boomers have changed that. In their selfishness they are instead trying to keep control till they die which is depriving the gen-xers of any real political opportunity unless they adhere to the standards of the boomers by proxy. Most gen-xers actually have more in common with the younger generations than they do with the boomers as far as outlook goes. The boomers seem to be aware of that and it only seems to compel them to hold onto what they have much tighter.

Of course this begs the question for the gen-xers. Do they hold onto power till they die? Or do they choose to forego their turn and turn things over to the younger generations entirely, restoring the pattern of the older generation granting opportunity to the younger.

Aramis Night:
Previous generations would usually hand over the reigns of power/control when they felt the younger generation was ready. In this way the younger generation would receive opportunity from the older generations.

Do you have any actual examples of that? It's human nature to maintain power as long as possible. I very much doubt that previous generations were any different.

Also, the word you are looking for is "reins," not "reigns."

Aardvaarkman:

Aramis Night:
Previous generations would usually hand over the reigns of power/control when they felt the younger generation was ready. In this way the younger generation would receive opportunity from the older generations.

Do you have any actual examples of that? It's human nature to maintain power as long as possible. I very much doubt that previous generations were any different.

Also, the word you are looking for is "reins," not "reigns."

Ty for the spelling correction. I don't normally waste my time on spelling provided that the context of my text is understood.

The entire concept of mentorship is based on this idea. It's something that many humans have been doing since we lived in tribes. Older people grooming younger people to replace them, and not just as a proxy. Previous generations had a sense of their own obsolescence, and would volunteer to take a more background position among their group. A position of respect typically.

Aramis Night:

The entire concept of mentorship is based on this idea. It's something that many humans have been doing since we lived in tribes. Older people grooming younger people to replace them, and not just as a proxy. Previous generations had a sense of their own obsolescence, and would volunteer to take a more background position among their group. A position of respect typically.

But the Baby Boomers also engage in mentorship.

I'm not sure where you're getting the data from that power dynamics suddenly changed with one generation. The generation preceding the Boomers didn't suddenly give away their power to them.

All of this is kind of moot. Yeah CBS is looking to bring in the "hip" new "cool cats" them "teenagers" and younger folk. But just as with politics, these decisions are still being made by aging boomers with no respect for those who came after them, and virtually no idea of how they actually do things, particularly consume entertainment anymore. Yeah them teenagers like Stephen Colbert. But do they actually sit down to watch scheduled programming? Colbert works well in a short format. 20 minutes total, that is easily broken into 2 or 3 easily digested YouTube segments. But will the kids follow him into an extended hour long snooze fest interviewing the Kardashians and similar narcissistic celebrity types, over and over, night after night? Or will they just grab whatever comes next as a short funny presenter over the Internet?

I know Bob says that ratings don't matter. But ultimately they sort of do. Even when skewed for concentrations of desirable demographics. Heck it would not surprise me if their are more regular eyeballs in that sweet demographic looking at Bobs offerings each week, then there are looking at Colbert or Stewarts scheduled cable broadcast shows now. (As we saw from that disturbingly explosive Jim thread from a few weeks ago. The ad pimps simply have not found a smooth acceptable way to measure you and inject their content into your brain out here on the interwebz as of yet. ) Colbert won't lose to Jimmy Fallon. He and the old guard networks will lose and are already losing to Netflix and YouTube and the XBox dashboard, and whatever comes after them. CBS needs something more then the Great Rural Purge. They need the great broadcast purge. They need to cut down the antennae and let people watch the way the kids do now. As they wish. But CBS, ABC and NBC cannot do that. They are too tied to the affiliates. They franchised their business model back in the dawn of time. And now they can't steer the ship away from the iceberg without throwing the Franchises overboard. And they can't do that because the franchises are too powerful. They rule local politics among other things. (Or at least they rule the aging and decrepit baby boomers that rule local politics.)

The end result is that they are hobbled from taking a real look at their aging and slowly dying business model, they are instead attempting to give them young uns a bit o spectacle. Show that they can be hip and edgy. That'll bring the kids to them. See, they're still relevant. Just like them record stores and the brick and mortar bookstores. And the brick and mortar game stores like GameStop.

I'm kinda confused of why they CBS chose Colbert. It's a lose/lose situation for them.
The old Late Show viewers are gonna complain of Colbert's political view, and leave for something similar to what they watch.
CBS will probably censor Colbert to a degree, but it'll still be a change.
And Colbert's audience (like me) are not going to watch a gutted Colbert in hour long Late Show I've barely heard about. Seriously, I've barely heard about The Late Show, and when I do, it's when they interview a celebrity I don't know about.

One of your best, MovieBob, very enlightening in a long-term fashion - thank you for that. Also one of the more optimistic views I have heard of late, and it is very encouraging. Cheers. Really good reading for my friends in the television biz too.

Eh, this is the first time I have ever considered watching, but I probably won't anyway. The Late Show is just... well it's shit. I don't usually care about the content, it was never very funny in my lifetime. I have always hated Jay Leno... so that kept me away the most.

ZeroAE:

The old Late Show viewers are gonna complain of Colbert's political view, and leave for something similar to what they watch.
CBS will probably censor Colbert to a degree, but it'll still be a change.

I don't think the Late Show appeals to conservatives at all, so he should fit right in. I don't know what they would sensor, to be honest. Steven Colbert is a caricature named after the actual person.

Baresark:
Eh, this is the first time I have ever considered watching, but I probably won't anyway. The Late Show is just... well it's shit. I don't usually care about the content, it was never very funny in my lifetime. I have always hated Jay Leno... so that kept me away the most.

What does Leno have to do with this? He has never hosted The Late Show. The show was hosted by David Letterman. Leno hosted a completely different show - The Tonight Show.

faefrost:
All of this is kind of moot. Yeah CBS is looking to bring in the "hip" new "cool cats" them "teenagers" and younger folk. But just as with politics, these decisions are still being made by aging boomers with no respect for those who came after them, and virtually no idea of how they actually do things, particularly consume entertainment anymore. Yeah them teenagers like Stephen Colbert. But do they actually sit down to watch scheduled programming? Colbert works well in a short format. 20 minutes total, that is easily broken into 2 or 3 easily digested YouTube segments. But will the kids follow him into an extended hour long snooze fest interviewing the Kardashians and similar narcissistic celebrity types, over and over, night after night? Or will they just grab whatever comes next as a short funny presenter over the Internet?

I know Bob says that ratings don't matter. But ultimately they sort of do. Even when skewed for concentrations of desirable demographics. Heck it would not surprise me if their are more regular eyeballs in that sweet demographic looking at Bobs offerings each week, then there are looking at Colbert or Stewarts scheduled cable broadcast shows now. (As we saw from that disturbingly explosive Jim thread from a few weeks ago. The ad pimps simply have not found a smooth acceptable way to measure you and inject their content into your brain out here on the interwebz as of yet. ) Colbert won't lose to Jimmy Fallon. He and the old guard networks will lose and are already losing to Netflix and YouTube and the XBox dashboard, and whatever comes after them. CBS needs something more then the Great Rural Purge. They need the great broadcast purge. They need to cut down the antennae and let people watch the way the kids do now. As they wish. But CBS, ABC and NBC cannot do that. They are too tied to the affiliates. They franchised their business model back in the dawn of time. And now they can't steer the ship away from the iceberg without throwing the Franchises overboard. And they can't do that because the franchises are too powerful. They rule local politics among other things. (Or at least they rule the aging and decrepit baby boomers that rule local politics.)

The end result is that they are hobbled from taking a real look at their aging and slowly dying business model, they are instead attempting to give them young uns a bit o spectacle. Show that they can be hip and edgy. That'll bring the kids to them. See, they're still relevant. Just like them record stores and the brick and mortar bookstores. And the brick and mortar game stores like GameStop.

This seems about right to me. TV is just a million times less convenient than watching something on the internet. Why on Earth would I want to warp my schedule around TV programming when I can just watch something anytime, anywhere?

Current efforts to halt this shift have focused primarily on keeping TV content off the internet, which everyone 25 or younger knows is a laughably impossible task. Adoption of the internet has been incredibly slow and warped around TV schedules (look we have the last 5 TV episodes online, each released a week after they came out! Please watch our ads.) It's laughable how bad the internet presence for most networks is, ESPECIALLY considering these networks are also huge ISPs! And they're constantly fighting Netflix, a company that actually has a handle on internet viewership, with nasty things like data throttling for Netflix service unless Netflix paid the networks extra money, in the most blatant case of 'conflict of interests' since lobbyists becoming the heads of federal agencies.

It's been proven that piracy is a matter of convenience, but TV networks still can't beat the convenience of downloading a program, searching through sketchy websites and waiting anywhere from twenty minutes to 3 hours before watching something that is hopefully what the person wanted. That is a low fucking bar.

ZeroAE:
I'm kinda confused of why they CBS chose Colbert. It's a lose/lose situation for them.
The old Late Show viewers are gonna complain of Colbert's political view, and leave for something similar to what they watch.

I don't think so. Letterman was pretty damn liberal, so it won't be much of a change politically.

As far as hosting the show goes, it's a perfect choice. Colbert is a veteran and quick-witted interviewer. Very few people can manage better banter with random guests of all kinds. Interviewing guests is absolutely one of his greatest talents.

Aardvaarkman:

Baresark:
Eh, this is the first time I have ever considered watching, but I probably won't anyway. The Late Show is just... well it's shit. I don't usually care about the content, it was never very funny in my lifetime. I have always hated Jay Leno... so that kept me away the most.

What does Leno have to do with this? He has never hosted The Late Show. The show was hosted by David Letterman. Leno hosted a completely different show - The Tonight Show.

Lol, I got my shows mixed up. It doesn't really matter though, they are all about the same.

Aardvaarkman:

Aramis Night:
Previous generations would usually hand over the reigns of power/control when they felt the younger generation was ready. In this way the younger generation would receive opportunity from the older generations.

Do you have any actual examples of that? It's human nature to maintain power as long as possible. I very much doubt that previous generations were any different.

It's my understanding that its commonly thought the Silent Generation did exactly that, largely dissapearing from the cultural mealstrom much faster than the boomers have (hence Silent Generation). It didn't actually happen that way though, what happened is that the Boomers were so much bigger than the Silent Generation that the Silent Generation didn't have much choice in the matter.

Which is probably what's going to happen to Generation X, the Millenials are the biggest generation since the Boomers so mainstream culture is going to gravitate to them ASAP, Gen X won't have the luxury of holding on to the reigns for as long as they can like the Boomers did.

Baresark:

Lol, I got my shows mixed up. It doesn't really matter though, they are all about the same.

Only if you're not really watching. The only thing that Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson's shows (for example) have in common is the late-night format. The delivery and comedy contained within couldn't be more different.

Aardvaarkman:

Baresark:

Lol, I got my shows mixed up. It doesn't really matter though, they are all about the same.

Only if you're not really watching. The only thing that Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson's shows (for example) have in common is the late-night format. The delivery and comedy contained within couldn't be more different.

Well, that's cool. I guess what I'm saying is that I have never seen anything really funny or different about them, but clearly you watch them more than I do. The late night format is not really my thing, and what little I have seen I have not found very funny. That is just my opinion of course. I'm glad you enjoy them.

WoahDan:
It didn't actually happen that way though, what happened is that the Boomers were so much bigger than the Silent Generation that the Silent Generation didn't have much choice in the matter.

Well, yes. Obviously the Boomers have the force of numbers - not only are they are product of a baby boom, they follow a generation that had its numbers reduced by wartime. At the same time, the Boomers saw a growth in wealth and technology like never before. Especially in the realm of medical technology. So, the Boomers have longer, healthier lives, and they can afford to enjoy those lives much longer with money to spend on their passions.

Having said that, the previous generation did not give up on power easily. John McCain (born 1936) ran for President as recently as 2008. Strom Thurmond (born 1902) was a US Senator until 2003. So, no, pre-Boomers were not just handing over power to the younger generation.

WoahDan:
Which is probably what's going to happen to Generation X, the Millenials are the biggest generation since the Boomers so mainstream culture is going to gravitate to them ASAP, Gen X won't have the luxury of holding on to the reigns for as long as they can like the Boomers did.

Of course. "Generation X" was a "baby bust" generation, and has always been at the fringes of political and social power. "Gen X" were even a minority in their own generation. For example, Sarah Palin (born 1964) is solidly in the age bracket of "Generation X" - but she demonstrates none of the social and cultural traits that are supposed to typify Generation X (cynicism, rebellion, nihilism, anti-corporatism, etc.)

So, really, Gen X is completely misunderstood, and is essentially mythical. There's a reason that Generation Xers (of which I include myself) cling to pop-culture nostalgia so strongly - because they (we) are ultimately rather powerless and ignored. The stereotypical "Gen Xer" was actually a minority amongst a bunch of yuppies and conformists in their own generation. The only reason we even got that name was because of a little-known novel by Douglas Coupland.

My generation invented Boomer-bashing. That's why I can see now, having grown up, that it is so misguided. This narrative that Baby Boomers are evil powermongers is mostly false. Which is why I am so opposed when younger generations like Millenials jump on the Boomer-bashing bandwagon. A lot of the things they are blaming Boomers for are actually the fault of previous generations. And of course, the Boomers had the exact same opinions about their elders -that they were geriatrics clinging to power and holding them down.

Aardvaarkman:

WoahDan:
It didn't actually happen that way though, what happened is that the Boomers were so much bigger than the Silent Generation that the Silent Generation didn't have much choice in the matter.

Well, yes. Obviously the Boomers have the force of numbers - not only are they are product of a baby boom, they follow a generation that had its numbers reduced by wartime. At the same time, the Boomers saw a growth in wealth and technology like never before. Especially in the realm of medical technology. So, the Boomers have longer, healthier lives, and they can afford to enjoy those lives much longer with money to spend on their passions.

Having said that, the previous generation did not give up on power easily. John McCain (born 1936) ran for President as recently as 2008. Strom Thurmond (born 1902) was a US Senator until 2003. So, no, pre-Boomers were not just handing over power to the younger generation.

WoahDan:
Which is probably what's going to happen to Generation X, the Millenials are the biggest generation since the Boomers so mainstream culture is going to gravitate to them ASAP, Gen X won't have the luxury of holding on to the reigns for as long as they can like the Boomers did.

Of course. "Generation X" was a "baby bust" generation, and has always been at the fringes of political and social power. "Gen X" were even a minority in their own generation. For example, Sarah Palin (born 1964) is solidly in the age bracket of "Generation X" - but she demonstrates none of the social and cultural traits that are supposed to typify Generation X (cynicism, rebellion, nihilism, anti-corporatism, etc.)

So, really, Gen X is completely misunderstood, and is essentially mythical. There's a reason that Generation Xers (of which I include myself) cling to pop-culture nostalgia so strongly - because they (we) are ultimately rather powerless and ignored. The stereotypical "Gen Xer" was actually a minority amongst a bunch of yuppies and conformists in their own generation. The only reason we even got that name was because of a little-known novel by Douglas Coupland.

My generation invented Boomer-bashing. That's why I can see now, having grown up, that it is so misguided. This narrative that Baby Boomers are evil powermongers is mostly false. Which is why I am so opposed when younger generations like Millenials jump on the Boomer-bashing bandwagon. A lot of the things they are blaming Boomers for are actually the fault of previous generations. And of course, the Boomers had the exact same opinions about their elders -that they were geriatrics clinging to power and holding them down.

Meanwhile, late-X and early millenials respond to the apathy, inaction, and weakness (Gen X did not take their chances) and are tech-native. Whether Gen-X gives up power quietly or not, millenials see them as easy targets to roll over. Plus, you know, patience isn't as much as a virtue to the 18-30 set ATM.

We can even see this happening with a couple of shifts in politics right now. Gay marriage and the move towards legalization are foregone conclusions to the younger generations, and the weight behind it steamrolls the opposition.

The problem I have with Stephen Colbert is that his persona is way too strong. People are going to be expecting "Stephen Colbert" and get Stephen COlbert.

At least it isn't Jeff Dunham or Daniel Tosh...

Great article, Bob! Your reading is right on. Regardless of who is / gets hired / fired for Late Night programming, it's all about the dollars and cents! Time marches on, indeed!

I'm really not liking the idea of Colbert giving up his character and becoming another boring late night host. It's not just Leno who sucked at it, Kimmell and Letterman are both extremely bland hosts. Craig Ferguson is about the only late night host I can stand because he actually has a personality, but his patented brand of weirdness wouldn't hold a mainstream audience. Neither can Colbert. Unless Colbert dumbs down his performance and becomes as boring as Jimmy Kimmell he's going to run into the same ratings problems as Conan did when he inherited the Tonight Show. You can't be weird at 11:30 on a mainstream network if you want to draw an audience.

Fusioncode9:
I'm really not liking the idea of Colbert giving up his character and becoming another boring late night host. It's not just Leno who sucked at it, Kimmell and Letterman are both extremely bland hosts. Craig Ferguson is about the only late night host I can stand because he actually has a personality, but his patented brand of weirdness wouldn't hold a mainstream audience. Neither can Colbert. Unless Colbert dumbs down his performance and becomes as boring as Jimmy Kimmell he's going to run into the same ratings problems as Conan did when he inherited the Tonight Show. You can't be weird at 11:30 on a mainstream network if you want to draw an audience.

I would have preferred Craig Ferguson to take over and get the better timeslot he deserves, but you're right, the only reason he's so entertaining is because he has a small audience and he knows it (and constantly points it out in his show). The crap he does on that show won't fly on a better timeslot because the network will get a ton of complaints for it. Unfortunately, the reason I like Stephen Colbert is the same, his show on comedy central won't click with the mainstream audience. There is no doubt he's going to turn into Kimmell/Fallon's brand of bland once he moves into the Tonight Show...and that's sad.

I've said this elsewhere, but I'll share it here as well...

My wife and I sit down for at least one meal together every day and we watch either the Daily Show or Colbert Report. (Also SHIELD, Star Trek, or whatever new movie we are catching up on, but on a daily basis, mostly those two shows.)

I've enjoyed Colbert from his time on Daily, Stranger w/ Candy, and in the bits performed on a not well known show called Exit 57.

While I'm glad for his success and think he could continue to be great as a late night host on CBS, this doesn't excite me all that much. In fact, it kind of saddens me.

For one thing, he won't be his "character" as portrayed on TCR and thus might not have quite the same ability to remark on and present various news or views that we're not otherwise exposed to.
My wife is concerned, perhaps rightfully, that in a mainstream arena he'll become "light" or "toned-down" to the point his commentary won't carry the same weight it does now or will just be less interesting overall.
And in an hour long format, 5 times a week, if she finds she'll be interested at all... there's just no way we could keep up with it on our schedules (we can barely keep up as it is.)

My other concern is what happened when Craig Kilborn left the Daily Show to do late night: he failed. Granted, Stewart was the perfect and best replacement (to be fair I didn't think so at the time) but that pretty well put Kilborn out to pasture. If Colbert fails this (and yeah it seems unlikely, but it can happen) then we've lost a great show to gain only disappointment.

Jon "Daily" is getting older by the second too... and Oliver still has yet to kick off his thing on HBO.

The Colbert Report has been a part of our nigh-daily ritual for so long (one of the first Colbert pieces we watched together was Fruit Juice on TDS), and as much as I might enjoy more of him, I fear this just means the end of something my wife and I have shared since our first days together. I don't think we'll be happy with that change.

Aardvaarkman:

Aramis Night:

The entire concept of mentorship is based on this idea. It's something that many humans have been doing since we lived in tribes. Older people grooming younger people to replace them, and not just as a proxy. Previous generations had a sense of their own obsolescence, and would volunteer to take a more background position among their group. A position of respect typically.

But the Baby Boomers also engage in mentorship.

I'm not sure where you're getting the data from that power dynamics suddenly changed with one generation. The generation preceding the Boomers didn't suddenly give away their power to them.

Yes, but when the boomers engage in mentorship it is ,as I pointed out, only to create proxies for their own positions. You yourself brought up how Sarah Palin does not represent the views of most gen x people. And you are right. that is exactly why she was granted power and influence in the first place.

Aramis Night:
You yourself brought up how Sarah Palin does not represent the views of most gen x people.

No, I did not. I brought up how Sarah Palin does not represent the stereotype of Gen X people, while also pointing out that most Gen X people do not represent the stereotype of Gen X people.

"Generation X" is basically a myth.

Aramis Night:
And you are right. that is exactly why she was granted power and influence in the first place.

But not by Boomers, by pre-Boomers. The Republicans who chose Palin as a Presidential candidate were pretty anti-Boomer.

ZeroAE:
I'm kinda confused of why they CBS chose Colbert. It's a lose/lose situation for them.
The old Late Show viewers are gonna complain of Colbert's political view, and leave for something similar to what they watch.
CBS will probably censor Colbert to a degree, but it'll still be a change.
And Colbert's audience (like me) are not going to watch a gutted Colbert in hour long Late Show I've barely heard about. Seriously, I've barely heard about The Late Show, and when I do, it's when they interview a celebrity I don't know about.

Actually David Letterman is very left leaning, and he hides his bias less than most other hosts, especially when interviewing politicians or people like Bill O'Reilly. Steven Colbert will be fine in that regard. I also doubt that CBS will have to censor Colbert at all, what he already does on his own show could pretty much fly on network television, especially after 10pm. Craig Ferguson, who follows David, is already way 'naughtier' than Colbert's current show. As to whether or not his fans will follow him: even if just a small percentage do it'll be a pickup. It's not like Letterman was going to bring in those fans anyway.

faefrost:
All of this is kind of moot. Yeah CBS is looking to bring in the "hip" new "cool cats" them "teenagers" and younger folk. But just as with politics, these decisions are still being made by aging boomers with no respect for those who came after them, and virtually no idea of how they actually do things, particularly consume entertainment anymore. Yeah them teenagers like Stephen Colbert. But do they actually sit down to watch scheduled programming? Colbert works well in a short format. 20 minutes total, that is easily broken into 2 or 3 easily digested YouTube segments. But will the kids follow him into an extended hour long snooze fest interviewing the Kardashians and similar narcissistic celebrity types, over and over, night after night? Or will they just grab whatever comes next as a short funny presenter over the Internet?

I know Bob says that ratings don't matter. But ultimately they sort of do. Even when skewed for concentrations of desirable demographics. Heck it would not surprise me if their are more regular eyeballs in that sweet demographic looking at Bobs offerings each week, then there are looking at Colbert or Stewarts scheduled cable broadcast shows now. (As we saw from that disturbingly explosive Jim thread from a few weeks ago. The ad pimps simply have not found a smooth acceptable way to measure you and inject their content into your brain out here on the interwebz as of yet. ) Colbert won't lose to Jimmy Fallon. He and the old guard networks will lose and are already losing to Netflix and YouTube and the XBox dashboard, and whatever comes after them. CBS needs something more then the Great Rural Purge. They need the great broadcast purge. They need to cut down the antennae and let people watch the way the kids do now. As they wish. But CBS, ABC and NBC cannot do that. They are too tied to the affiliates. They franchised their business model back in the dawn of time. And now they can't steer the ship away from the iceberg without throwing the Franchises overboard. And they can't do that because the franchises are too powerful. They rule local politics among other things. (Or at least they rule the aging and decrepit baby boomers that rule local politics.)

The end result is that they are hobbled from taking a real look at their aging and slowly dying business model, they are instead attempting to give them young uns a bit o spectacle. Show that they can be hip and edgy. That'll bring the kids to them. See, they're still relevant. Just like them record stores and the brick and mortar bookstores. And the brick and mortar game stores like GameStop.

I'm guessing you're correct in all this. I agree with all of it. It will be interesting to see where TV ends up.

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I gotta say Bob. Interesting take as always. Its very enjoyable to read your takes on stuff, especially since you're so good at drawing lines further back. Your grasp of history and the cultural development makes your articles and shows a delight :)

 

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