Today it was announced that Conan O'Brien will have his
very own show on TBS. Yes, really, basic cable. He's going
from having a show on network television to basic cable.
Why didn't Fox jump to snap him up? I have no idea.
Alas, my dreams of a Fox late night lineup that includes
Conan followed by Red Eye is shattered.
The landscape of late night of television has completely
changed and I blame Jon Stewart. Now it seems like
every basic channel wants their own late night show.
There's Chelsea Lately, The Daily Show, and Lopez
Tonight. You don't have to be on network television
to have your own late night comedy show. The Daily
Show really proved to basic cable that they can have
a successful late night comedy show.
Another late night feature I attribute to Jon Stewart is
the partisanship in late night comedy. Johnny Carson
would skewer both Republicans and Democrats and Jay
Leno for the most part attempts to keep this mode (which
explains his success with older demographics). Jon Stewart
is a liberal all the way and lets it be known. Yes, sometimes
he pokes fun of Democrats. However, it is nothing like
the way he skewers Republicans. His hate for Bush
was visible in his face and jokes. Now it seems like just
about every late night comedian (with the exception to
some extent of Jay Leno) is obsessively partisan.
Chelsea Handler, George Lopez and David Letterman
make no bones about being liberals.
Here is an interview with Stephen Colbert where he
explains that Jon Stewart asked him to have a political
opinion (It's starts about seven minutes in):
The late night television landscape has changed.
Technology plays a big part in the dramatic change but I
think Jon Stewart is partly responsible. Whether the
transformations in late night comedy are good or bad ,
I'll let you decide.