Call it a seven-year itch, but the late night sands are shifting.
James Corden is leaving The late show next year after seven years in the CBS hotseat, Samantha Bee full frontal was canceled at TBS, the latest showdown from the new Warner Bros. empire. Discovery, and Desus and Mero go their separate ways and end their Showtime series.
Jon Batiste, conductor of Stephen Colbert’s The late show leaves after seven years and even Jimmy Kimmel is considering ending his 20-year run on ABC.
Seth Meyers, who hosts NBC Late at night, who earned his first major Emmy nomination since his show launched in February 2014, tells Deadline that we’ve reached a new inflection point.
“It’s remarkable that when we started, about eight and a half years ago, there seemed to be this massive wave of new shows, and that seemed to be the last inflection point. What was really exciting about this wave is that you have someone like me, who looks a lot like people who have had these shows in the past, but there was a group of people who didn’t have haven’t had shows like this in the past. It was really fun. This is one of the heartbreaking parts of Samantha Bee and Desus & Mero ending, as they represented a truly new and exciting late night chapter. I just hope it’s not as negative an indicator as it seems,” he said.
There have long been two strands in the late evening; nighttime broadcasts on broadcast networks – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Late Late Show with James Corden – and cable such as The daily show with Trevor Noah. Then you have the weekly shows on cable, and more recently streaming such as Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Real Time with Bill Maher, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Ziwe, The Amber Ruffin Show, Break with Sam Jay and Hell of a week with Charlamagne Tha God.
CBS is currently looking to replace Corden, who started in 2015. CBS CEO George Cheeks told Deadline in May that the network was looking to experiment with 12:30 p.m. and refresh the format, which was designed in a somewhat little unique. around the British winner of Tony. There’s been a plethora of names thrown into the ring, from established, mostly female stars, to YouTubers and more esoteric performers. A late-night chef told Deadline: “Everyone wants someone who already has followers, but that’s [tough]like getting people to move from YouTube to linear,” the source said.
The network has a little time to understand it because the Gavin and Stacey the co-creator is expected to leave around April next year.
Deadline includes Corden Fulwell’s production company 73, which he runs with a group of producers including his Last show EP Ben Winston, which also produces Hulu’s The Kardashians, is one of many companies vying to produce the new iteration of The late show go forward.
“I am very curious to know what this means [for] which direction the late night is going,” Meyers said of his timeslot rival. “Rollover happens so infrequently that it will be fascinating to see what the data point is on the axis. The craziest thing they could try to do is try to hire the next James Corden.
ABC will also be keeping a close eye on the landscape in case Jimmy Kimmel decides to retire, a decision Deadline understands the host has yet to make.
Kimmel has built a lengthy summer break into her current deal and her show has introduced a rotating roster of guest hosts including RuPaul, Anthony Anderson, Chelsea Handler, David Alan Grier Liu and Kerry Washington. Notably, many of JKL’s guest hosts weren’t straight, white men, per Kimmel’s request, indicating progress if he decides to quit anytime soon.
Handler, who had a lengthy late-night show on E! as well as a short-lived streaming show on Netflix, is said to be wishing for its own return to the genre, while it will be interesting to see Desus Nice release on its own next week.
Former Desus late night partner The Kid Mero believes the landscape is changing for the better. “I feel like people can look at what we’ve done, what Sam [Bee] did, and [realize] it was viable. If you let these people exploit their strengths, don’t weaken them, go ahead, let them do what they do, worry about the rest later. It’ll work,” he told the SiriusXM Basic! podcast, co-hosted by former MTV and Comedy Central executive Doug Herzog. “That says a lot that this is a viable product; you can be a black man, black woman, asian man, asian woman, gay man [in late-night]. It will work and it will bring you eyeballs, which is ultimately all executives and advertisers want.
Herzog, who oversaw The Daily Show with Jon Stewart when he ran Comedy Central, said there were a lot of different things going on at work right now when it came to late nights. He says ad-supported linear TV is “disrupted” and its impact on specific times of day is one issue, while streaming is another. “Ten years ago, certainly 15 years ago, you couldn’t get on a late night show until 11:30 p.m. at night, and now it’s like with social media and the way those shows are sort of sort of cut out and sent out to the world, it’s late at night all the time,” he said on his show.
The Amber Ruffin Show is one of those shows. The show airs on Peacock and launches around 6 p.m. PT, meaning audiences can watch it at their leisure rather than staying up until the early hours. Deadline understands that there are still a few episodes left to shoot and air as part of its second season before any potential third season.
The comedian, also a writer on Late Night with Seth Meyers, began to incorporate more interviews with Cynthia Erivo, Vanessa Williams and Jaquel Spivey into the show, which previously had more variety, song and dance, showing that Ruffin is just as comparable to chatting with stars as his NBC counterparts. While Fallon and Meyers recently signed long-term deals to stay on their shows, it’s clear that Ruffin is becoming more of a star in the space.
She also recently praised two of her late-night peers — Ziwe and Sam Jay — who helped diversify the genre. “Their shows are amazing,” she told Deadline earlier this spring. “I also think I’m awesome, so out of the box – bam, bam, bam – there were three fucking great shows. It just made me so proud.
The cancellation of Full frontal with Samantha Bee is one of those decisions impacted by falling linear ratings and the changing media landscape, part of a series of cuts at Warner Bros. Discovery.
Bee herself, in a tweet after the cancellation, brushed off regular hiatuses for AEW wrestling or rehearsals for The Big Bang Theory. “We’re so grateful for our loyal following, our incredible team, and that we were able to annoy the right people every week – that there was no wrestling or baseball or a very special episode of Big Bang,” said she writes.
But, as the chart (XXX) shows, the TBS show was the least-watched of all the major late-night shows and its cancellation came as David Zaslav and his team tore up the Turner Networks linear schedules. Associated to by Conan recent release, these stations are unlikely to seek a direct replacement for the pair.
These releases – especially Bee and Desus and Mero — while the coincidence will have a ripple effect on the genre’s chances at the Emmys in the future. As Deadline revealed in June, a group of showrunners lobbied the TV Academy to keep five Outstanding Variety Talk Series nominations.
This will be less likely next year and could lead to a change in how the TV Academy approaches the genre. While many in the late night space would hope for separate categories for Nightly and Weekly, the dwindling number of submissions to both that category and the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, where The Amber Ruffin Show, Ziwe and Break with Sam Jay competed, it will only push the Academy to reconsider the combination of categories, which it has already attempted. Add a growing list of shows competing in the Hosted Nonfiction category (Series or Special) such as The problem with Jon Stewart and My Next Guest Needs No Introduction Starring David Letterman and I guess there will be a change before the 2023 Emmys.
Despite all of this, there is still optimism about the future of late night. There will undoubtedly be a popular successor for Corden, a new couple to rival Desus and Mero and a woman who can bring up the subject of abortion rights the same way Bee just around the corner does.