Is Late Night TV Going the Way of the Dodo Bird?
Johnny Carson was once America’s unrivaled king of late night television. But in 2011, not only is there a question as to who has assumed his throne, but some wonder whether with TiVo, cable television, and the Internet, the title even exists.
“The concept of the 'Late Night King' is over. There are too many players spreading the viewership even thinner,” Tim Young, comedian and Chair of the Young Members Committee of the National Press Club, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “After Carson, it was a toss-up between Leno and Letterman. Their writing never really changed with time, and the late night slots got stale.”
Ratings for Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" sharply declined last year in the wake of the Conan timeslot scandal. By October 2010, Nielsen viewership statistics showed Leno losing 21 percent of overall audience compared with 2008, and 25 percent of his viewers in the advertiser-friendly 18 to 49 bracket. At one point, David Letterman’s rival "Late Show" beat Leno in the ratings for the first time in years. And even Comedy Central's low budget "The Daily Show" is now neck-and-neck with Leno in the key 18 to 49 demographic. For 2011's second quarter, Comedy Central claims Stewart's show drew 1.295 million compared to a “Tonight Show'’ total of 1.292 million.
Oh well, I guess they'll always have Jon Stewart.