Conservatives snickered over the news that Team Late Night had joined the podcast revolution.
Yes, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and three other progressives banded together for a limited show based on the endless Hollywood strikes.
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) August 31, 2023
Even apolitical comics Ryan Long and Danny Polishchuk of “The Boyscast” fame poked fun at the gambit, nothing the hosts dressed down their million-dollar homes to make themselves look more like Men of the People.
“Just regular folks pulling in $28 million each,” Polishchuk cracked.
The new podcast’s purpose? The hosts say they’re trying to raise money for their respective show staffers. The writer’s strike began May 2, and late night workers haven’t had an official paycheck since then.
Colbert and co. are handsomely compensated for spreading DNC propaganda, but their writers and various crew members aren’t so fortunate.
The progressive quintet is having the last laugh, though the “Boyscast” hosts predicted what would happen.
“You know what the worst part is? It’s gonna fly to the top of the charts because those companies know how to game it,” Long said.
Yes, “Strike Force Five,” the name for the new project, is the number one podcast over at iTunes. The show beat out “The Daily,” “Dateline NBC” and “Crime Junkie” for the top spot.
Credit the show’s accumulated fan bases for the victory. If Kimmel’s flock wasn’t enough to make the show a success, then fans of Colbert, John Oliver, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers put the show over the top.
So what happens next?
Journalist Stephen Miller described the debut episode as less than captivating, and fans may feel the same. The lack of writers showed throughout the broadcast, Miller argued, and we still don’t know when the late-night squad will head back to their respective studios.
Their fans clearly missed them, although the late-night ratings have been sinking in recent years. So, too, are the revenue numbers from the various platforms. It helps explain why CBS decided to program a game show revival in the old “Late Late Show” slot when host James Corden stepped down last year.
Can “Strike Force Five” hold its audience? More importantly, can a single show generate enough ad revenue to cover some, let alone most, of the bills weighing down the out-of-work staffers?
A separate news story suggests the prime directive here may be misleading.
A-list stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon reportedly offered to pay Kimmel’s staff for two weeks’ worth of salary early in the strike. Kimmel said, “Thanks but no thanks.”
“I felt that was not their responsibility,” the former “Man Show” host said. That’s technically right, but shouldn’t the staffers have the final say on it?
Fellow A-lister Ryan Reynolds chimed in, too, offering free phone services to the staffers to cushion the financial blow. It’s unclear if that offer was accepted.