Late Night’s Hard-Left Shift Crushes Ad Revenue

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Jimmy Kimmel unofficially kissed half the country goodbye in 2017.

The former “Man Show” host, addressing his hard-Left turn, said, “not good riddance but riddance” to Republican viewers.

Turns out the feeling was mutual, and it wasn’t reserved to Kimmel’s crowd.

Variety shared some shocking numbers related to the world of late-night Leftism. Revenue from Late night TV, including NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” collapsed over the past five years. The liberal site buried that news in a story about the sorry state of late-night programming.

In 2018, seven late night programs — NBC’s “Tonight” and “Late Night,” CBS’ “Late Show” and “Late Late Show,” ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” — drew more than $698 million in advertising in 2018, according to Vivvix, a tracker of ad spending. By 2022, that total came to $412.7 million — a drop of approximately 41% over five years.


Prognosticators can blame the rise of streaming alternatives and social media platforms, but the numbers are too ugly to be explained away that easily. It’s impossible to avoid the biggest issue facing the modern late-night landscape.

The format, which once served apolitical laughter uniting all Americans, is now almost uniformly hard-Left in tone and monologues. And it’s angry. Oh, so angry.

Johnny Carson would not approve.

The shift happened unofficially in 2015, when late-night hosts sided with Hillary Clinton in her presidential battle with rising star Donald Trump. The hosts may have leaned to the Left prior to their slugfest, particularly the latter years of David Letterman’s “Late Show,” but they dropped any semblance of fairness when Trump became the GOP nominee.

And we all know how that turned out.

The assembled hosts, with the exception of Fox News superstar Greg Gutfeld, veered even further left following Trump’s presidency.

Except the format’s transition doesn’t fully capture how the shows evolved during that change. It’s fine for a Bill Maher or Trevor Noah to pounce and/or seize on GOPers behaving badly.

That’s what a late-night satirist should do.

The hosts all but ignore Democrats who richly deserve their scorn. President Joe Biden’s nonstop gaffes, for example, rarely make the monologue cut. Comedians pretend Vice President Kamala (“Word Salad”) Harris doesn’t exist, leaving a gold mine of material off-screen.

“Saturday Night Live” can’t muster many sketches about the current Commander in Chief but assault Trump, Tucker Carlson and other heartland favorites on a weekly basis.

And, when hosts like Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon and John Oliver arne’t slicing and dicing Republicans they’re delivering lectures designed as monologues. They even coined a new-ish term for the practice – “clapter.”

Here’s a perfect example from “Saturday Night Live.”

The hosts in question combine that naked partisanship with an arrogance that may alienate even Left-leaning viewers. Recall how several hosts mocked ordinary Americans for protesting the draconian lockdowns during the COVID-19 era. Not only were those lockdowns later proven to be ineffective, they shattered businesses and livelihoods along the way.

For Colbert, who kept collecting his gargantuan paychecks during the lockdowns, those potential viewers were Trumpbots deserving his mockery.

Think they’re watching his “Late Show” monologues of late?

Colbert also embraced COVID-19 vaccines in ways that alienated plenty of viewers. His worship-like appearances with Dr. Anthony Fauci, whose behavior during the pandemic drew plenty of deserved scorn, also chased select audiences away.

Late night TV is in trouble. Samantha Bee’s basement-rated TBS show got the ax last year. Noah, who ranked slightly higher than Bee in the ratings race to the bottom, resigned from “The Daily Show” last year, too. James Corden bids goodbye to “The Late Late Show” in a few weeks.

Revenues could continue to plummet unless the hosts in question summon their inner Carson once again.

Written by Christian Toto

Christian Toto is an award-winning film critic, journalist and founder of, the Right Take on Entertainment. He’s the author of “Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul” and a lifelong Yankees fan. Toto lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, two sons and too many chickens.

Follow Christian on Twitter at


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  1. Late night shows used to be an absolute staple for my wife and I and many people we know. All besides Gutfeld have become completely unwatchable. The 41% drop in revenue will only grow once the numbers catch up in new contracts.

  2. It seems that consumers and advertisers are no longer providing money or an audience to corporations that pander to the 8% of the country that believes in the woke agenda. Finally! There has to be a penalty for pushing leftist policy, or it will continue. The success of “Gutfeld!” is remarkable, and I get it. The show is great.

  3. At thip point there’s no redemption for any of the MSM late night host (especially the biggest hypocrite, former Man Show host and Black Face, make-up wearing Jimmy Kimmel). They’ll all need to be blown out and replaced with hosts in the mold of Johnny Carson if the networks ever want to bring back a large volume of viewers from decades past.

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