Industry NewsOpinion

Colbert’s Collapse Sign of Media’s Liberal Bubble

The liberal comic could swipe at GOP politicians with alacrity, attracting a dedicated throng of progressives in the process. If the overlords at CBS had let him be he could have thrived there until his Social Security checks started coming in.

Instead, someone at CBS thought he was the perfect choice to replace a legend -- David Letterman. And now we’re seeing some of the results, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter. Jimmy Fallon’s “The Tonight Show” has beaten Colbert’s “The Late Show” in the overwhelming majority of times the two have collided so far. The demo differential tells a more ominous story for CBS:

During recent weeks, the gap has grown in the 18-to-49 demographic coveted by late-night advertisers … But Colbert’s solid early numbers have slid (though he’s bringing in a younger audience than his predecessor, David Letterman); the other Jimmy, Kimmel on ABC, has moved ahead of him as well. During Thanksgiving week — admittedly a bit unusual — Colbert fell behind Seth Meyers’ NBC show, which plays an hour later.

johnny-carson-bushkin-bookWho could have predicted it? How about any clear-thinking soul who understands the country’s political makeup? When Johnny Carson ruled late night, “The Tonight Show” offered a fair balance of political gags. Why? Carson didn’t want to alienate either half of his viewing audience, something confirmed in the tell-all biography “Johnny Carson” by his longtime lawyer Henry Bushkin.

Could Colbert do the same? The more logical question was, did he have any track record of doing anything but promoting progressive ideals?

So when a Ted Cruz or Bernie Sanders graced the “Late Show” stage, you knew exactly where Colbert would go with his questioning … or unabashed praise. Consider how Colbert all but pleaded with Vice President Joe Biden to run for the presidency, a fangirl moment the comic would never try with a GOP politician.

America noticed. Now, they’re channel surfing accordingly. Somehow CBS executives couldn’t add two and two together like the rest of us did. They live in the same liberal bubble too many reporters call home. Now, it’s hurting their bottom line.

To further strengthen the ideological case, consider who is watching Colbert so far:

A THR poll showed Colbert’s audience is only 17 percent Republican, as opposed to 33 percent for Kimmel and 31 percent for Fallon.)

Yet even playing to a liberal crowd can’t guarantee cable TV success these days. Conservatives carped about Jon Stewart’s reign on “The Daily Show,” and with good reason. Stewart still had the comic chops to pull over most of his gags, and he occasionally hit the Left with similar, although never equal, force.

ALSO CHECK OUT: Entertainment Weekly Tells Stewart to Attack Cheney, Fox News

Now, Trevor Noah sits in Stewart’s Comedy Central chair, and he’s watched the show’s ratings plunge a whopping 40 percent. Calling the GOP frontrunner the “White Isis” might not be the best way to reach out to those red state denizens.

Noah’s nastiness, combined with a lack of performing polish, are taking its toll on “The Daily Show’s” ratings. Perhaps the show’s producers might peer outside of their own liberal bubble and see there’s an entire half of the country eager for political satire that doesn’t exclude them.

Show More

58 Comments

  1. Exceptional explaination. You nail it like you usally do.
    For the record…I still like “Exodus” for best worst picture over “Goblins 2” even if I missed out on a free Goblins 2 DVD

        1. Oh, snap!
          I was making reference to Spinal Tap, getting more selective in their smaller venues. Sorry, did not mean Colbert HAS an 11. pretty much a robot that parrots what libs want to hear, just not entertaining.
          God, I miss Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, and even Dick Cavett!

    1. Carson and Leno were smart enough to poke fun at any politician of any party for there foibles. They tend to stay away from overt political commentary..

      1. If you read back a long ways, you will find that all of this dates back to the great American humorist Will Rogers, who was brought up as an American Indian on the Cherokee reservation in Indian Territory in the 19th century. The greatest stage humorist in American history was born and raised as a Native American, a real one, not of the Cambridge/Harvard variety. It was he who developed the monologue as we know it in Vaudeville and in the Ziegfeld Follies.

        Rogers really seems to have created the topical monologue and it was filled with political humor, but it was gentle, rather than mean or cynical humor (thanks Letterman) and he handed it out to all. The man’s innate modesty (“All I know I read in the papers”) and his “ah shucks” manner made him disarming. And, he managed to remain popular for about thirty years, stage, screen, radio, a prototype for all who followed, except now they reject his modesty, his humility and his balance.

          1. I don’t recall expressing the notion that David Letterman was anything but a leftist. He is anything but “liberal,” as with most leftists, he is illiberal. What I expressed was the idea that political humor should be gentle and evenhanded when done for a mass
            audience, the way Will Rogers did it.

          2. When Letterman followed Carson with Late night, he was liberal, but not radically so, and still tried to be mainly funny, rather than all lefty politics, all the time, like he became during Bush.

          3. Letterman wasn’t always a mean old man. But, like many on the left, he absolutely lost it when George W. beat internet inventor and climate change profiteer Al Gore in 1999. He was never funny after that.

      1. If I told them once, I told them one thousand times that Spinal Tap gets top billing…….but at least you got big dressing rooms

  2. It is not only Liberals that are losing eyeballs.
    The National Review is slumping badly with its daily Trump-bashing columns.

    1. There’s an importantn difference here.

      Colbert is supposed to be entertaining people. Hacking off part of his audience is not a good idea.

      National Review is supposed to be promoting conservative politics. Hacking off part of its audience is its duty when that audience is falling for Trump.

      1. Arguably. But refusing to recognize or understand WHY Trump is so popular and simply wishing him away is only further splintering the party. If half your audience is leaving you, it’s because you’re not singing their songs anymore. Trump is the end-result (logical or otherwise) of an uncountable number of back-stabs the GOP has inflicted on its own voters.

        1. Most of the fight was over the tenor and tone and rhetoric of Peter Brimelow and his firing, after many years at National Review. Most of the people there are reliably conservative, though they differ as to the importance and order of issues, as do we all.

          Kevin Williamson is thoughtful, concise and an effective writer. Jonah Goldberg, who is clearly not on the Trump Train turned out “Liberal Fascism” which is a classic book. He may offend some people, but he has articulated things as few others have in the past, which is more than most of us have done.

          1. Sorry but the National Review has lost its way.
            Jack Fowler has turned the mag into National RINO.
            In much the same way Murdock as turned Fox News into a RINO channel.

    2. Trump of course is not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination. He does not have a consistent or definable political philosophy, much like his predecessor, the American Populist Ross Perot. Perot was so politically unsophisticated that when he was asked whether government was too big or too small, he said he hadn’t thought about it. This is from memory, so not a direct quote. Trump doesn’t have the type of intellectual understanding of how we got here, of Locke and Hume and Smith and Burke that say Cruz has, so this is why he has some really nutty left wing ideas, but he is of course a patriot, as was Perot.

      What Trump is, is he is an American first and foremost. He sees the President role (correctly) as protecting and advancing American interests. Thus feels that immigration is a good thing only IF it benefits the United States and IF we assimilate immigrants. Since the left wants immigration because it benefits the Democratic Party, the left and the immigrants rather than the United States, he is opposed to unbridled immigration.

      Although he has not been able to articulate it in an intelligent and intelligible manner, he also seems to understand that Fundamentalist Islam is incompatible with American values, that Americans are under no obligation to accept burka wearing people whose values are in direct opposition to the west’s, either as immigrants or as refugees. Had he simply been able to define the issue in this way, as opposition to a women-hating, homosexual murdering, girl-raping Islamic cult, we would all be better off.

      Trump also understands that political correctness is simply a method of control, a way of making liars out of everyone (all cultures are equal, we are under the same threat at an airport from a grandma from Peoria as a young Muslim from Yemen, all racial and ethnic groups commit crimes in equal numbers and when they don’t, it’s never the individual’s fault) and now, leading to our deaths.

      Principled conservatives don’t “bash” Trump, but criticize him because he does not share their views, it’s that simple. He goes for income redistribution for example, not understanding that the money is not the state’s, but the individual’s who earned it. This is Conservatism 101. If he was a bit more principled and able to articulate his major themes without throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as he did on the Islamic immigration issue – which should have been defined as opposition to Fundamentalist hermetically-sealed Islamists, an immigration hold, many more conservatives would be on board.

      The one thing that Trump seems to understand is that if the American nation continues to keep its borders open to all comers, to have no limits, no standards and continues to import immigrants who hate, not love America, the nation is finished. Unfortunately, far too many “conservatives” have only recently arrived at this conclusion or not yet come to this realization!

      Criticism of Trump is not bashing, but criticism, the same sort of thing each and every person who runs must endure. Some of it is fair, some of it is unfair, but if he dishes it out on golden platters with the Trump imprint, then he has to take it as well, it’s the nature of the process. Thanks.

      1. Goldberg has been ruined by becoming a Fox News regular. The money must be very good.
        NRO has an agenda set by the publisher and the columnists are carrying out that agenda.
        The GOP Establishment is adult diaper old.

  3. CBS should rehabilitate (in the Stalinist fashion) Conan O’Brien, who remains hilarious but languishes on TBS. His audiences are reliably liberal but he’s smart enough to stay above it all (even as he’s acting like a fool for laughs). Conan is getting old but he could step into the Late Night role instantly. He’d certainly do better than Colbert.
    Not a Conan fan boy, just a fan.

    1. I’ve often wondered why Conan didn’t take his old Late Night gig back (NBC made that offer) or run right to ABC when they were ready for late night, and the only thing I can think of is that both times he didn’t want to tank Jimmy Fallon. I can only assume that they’re friends.

    1. Stewart had influence with The Daily Show that was far in excess of what his ratings would suggest. He set the tone for a huge number of people who hardly ever tuned in, but would see him on reposted clips online. This worked for him because he was actually funny, and his team of writers could put out some quality stuff from time to time.

      Noah What’s-His-Name has none of that going for him. His ratings are down by half, but I would bet that the views of his clips online is down by over 90%.

    2. On cable, which is often a niche audience, they could get away with it. At least Stewart was smart enough to know there were never enough Mini-Maos and Little Che’s that would hang on his every word for “news” to make the jump to prime time.

      Colbert thought he could get rid of his “characters” and broaden his “humor” and make the jump to prime time, all the while remaining so far up Bernie and Hillary and Joe and Barak’s digestive system that he could serve as a food taster. So far, it hasn’t worked that way, but give him another five years and we’ll see, by then, with half the audience converted to Islam and the other half Narco-Terrorists, they may find out signing him was not so smart.

  4. For the True Believers at CBS, Comedy Central, and the rest of legacy media, it’s not about ratings and money. It’s about virtue signaling and The Narrative.

      1. Colberts DESTROYS that total loser, Stephen Colbert! Just watch any of his shows for proof. (Better hurry, though, he might not last long – even CBS isn’t completely blind, and Rosie O’Donnell is looking for a new gig.)

          1. Yes, they have kept that walking, talking bowl of jello with a brain box full of rocks employed for years, haven’t they?

    1. Totally on point. Even with millions of dollars on the line, the movie making powers that be would rather morally preen for their peers than make a buck. Sam Goldwyn must be rolling in his grave. Remember the Iraq War movies during the Bush years? Every one of them was a total bomb. (No pun intended.) Hey Hollywood. I know this is a shock, but not every American hates his country.

        1. Yes, they do! Boy do they! And the proof of this is that virtually every hit movie they make is based on a comic book. The proof of this is that virtually every “comedy” has to rely on people puking, passing gas and having meaningless, degrading, if not depraved sex.

          Now, there were always trashy movies, but there were also lots of clever, sophisticated films that were at the same time popular. Modern “film makers” just know they are positively brilliant, because, since the 1960s, they have forged a new paradigm, largely based on blood and trash.

          These young writers and film makers could certainly teach Ben Hecht, Charles Macarthur, Anita Loos, Francis Marion, Woody Van Dyke, Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder a thing or two!

      1. I have long thought that a tattoo artist in Hollywood could make a fortune selling all the film makers and television people forehead tattoos with slogans that prove their virtue, “Stop Global Warming,” or
        “Feed the Homeless,” or “Save Gaia” or “Disarm America,” or “Eat the Rich (Except Us!)”. It would be a great moneymaker, they would all get laid and it would be much more fun than driving a Tesla or a hair shirt Prius, i mean Pious.

  5. I wouldn’t mind Colbert being a leftist so much if he were actually funny occasionally, like Jon Stewart or even Bill Maher.

  6. Guess no one at CBS saw Colbert on the mall in DC during his lame (and dirty) “rally”. His antagonistic persona is a big surprise.

    The worst thing about the snark is anyone with the least bit of familiarity with an issue watches Colbert or Stewart or Noah and knows they’re biffing it. They have no clue. When of course they’re not loudly and overcompensatingly lying about it (looking at you John Oliver). Disgraceful. That’s entertainment?

  7. These shows are nothing but liberal sounding boards. Tv like the media is decidedly liberal and they’ll always refuse to be balanced. The best thing is to turn them off and let their advertisers put them off the air.

  8. The powers that be in this scenario are in the entertainment business. They are in the entertainment business to make money. And of course, money comes first.

    But the article is dead on. These people live in a bubble. Jon Stewart had an almost like cult following – built up over nearly 20 years. If memory serves me correctly, Colbert followed Stewart and I gotta believe some of his numbers were from that.

    People like Colbert and Noah – admitting I haven’t watched them – are funny mean. There’s no great long joke or ironic reckoning with their jokes that make them funny. Calling Sarah Palin an Alaska hick and making fun of her “accent” is funny mean and for the most part that’s what these guys do.

    Granted, Letterman and Stewart were big shoes to fill for these fill ins. So some of the turnoff are people used to one type of humor, not getting it and moving on. But Stewart and Letterman had decades of experience and building their audience. To assume Colbert could, after 9 years of following Stewart (and having parts in his show) could attract the same audience numbers.

    And let’s face it. If you’re staying up until 9:00 to watch Colbert and then needing to stay up till midnight, well, I think the numbers bare out exactly the type of following he had and the potential to draw.

    1. They are in the business to make money, but nevertheless, they make many films and television shows that have the purpose of indoctrinating people into leftism. They don’t mind losing a pile of money – usually all the poor sap who are investors not their own – if they can bash America, conservatives or the west. They will rarely invest their own money in one of their diatribes, but someone else’s, no sweat!

  9. Colbert made the mistake of booking too many politicians his first few weeks on the air. That set a bad precedent. Was he doing a late night talk/comedy show, or Meet the Press? Politicians (on either side) are boring in that kind of setting.

  10. Johnny Carson was always fair to both parties in his jokes, and developed such a good reputation that political leaders would watch his monologue to get a sense of what the country was thinking. Jay Leno was good about that too. Letterman was far less good, which I think was one reason why Leno passed him in ratings over the long run. Colbert did not even try, and lost out pretty quickly.

  11. It is bizarre that comedians would deny themselves all of the easy targets on the left from Hillary and Bill to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. The hagiography afforded to Obama was nauseating when he was first elected, but to not make fun of his constant straw man arguments, horrible job performance, as well as his mean-spirited comments 7 years in is inexcusable. Comedians and humorists can help keep politicians in check by pointing out their absurdities and hypocrisies. It’s a tonic that works equally well with Ds as Rs. But the hard left’s takeover of the media has turned news and entertainment into a cudgel with which to bash Republicans in general and conservatives specifically. And in doing so, they have destroyed their credibility.

  12. Hmmm, as an empiricist I may as well be the one to say, this is all wishful thinking. You’ve got very variable data, TV show ratings, and magically assume the reason anyone suffers lesser ratings than a competitor or a predecessor is because they say something that you disagree with ideologically.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button
Close