Will Writers’ Strike TKO Late-Night Liberals?

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It’s been days without a new monologue from Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert or Seth Meyers. And yet, despite all odds, society continues to function more or less as normal.

The lights still turn on and off. Water flows freely from our faucets.

This week’s Writers Guild of America strike meant “The Late Show,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and other far-Left showcases went dark. Their respective scribes, who write variations of the same anti-Trump joke five nights a week, are now on the picket line.

The scribes demand higher wages, a beefier cut of streaming residuals and promises that A.I. technology won’t put them out of work next year (or even next month). The two sides are miles apart, and all indications suggest the strike will last as long as the 2007 work stoppage which dragged on for 100 days.

Pop Culture and technology are changing so fast it’s hard to keep up, and writers feel they’re not being paid a “living wage,” as the messaging goes.

The strike’s long-term effects are harder to predict. The films and TV shows slated for release this year are mostly complete, and we’re told many 2024 films are good to do, too.

Beyond that, it’s hard to say what happens next. What’s clear is that this couldn’t come at a worse time for liberal late-night TV.

The format recently shed low-rated talent like Conan O’Brien, Trevor Noah and Samantha Bee. James Corden stepped down as host of “The Late Late Show” on CBS, with the network opting to fill his time slot with a game show reboot, costing the studio far less Corden’s star-studded chatfest.

“The Tonight Show,” once the standard-bearer of late-night TV, now comes in third or fourth place each weeknight. Host Jimmy Fallon’s decision to perform a lite-version of Stephen Colbert’s hard-left shtick means conservatives no longer care what lip sync stunt he might pull off next.

The newest kid on the block, Greg Gutfeld, often stands at or near the top of the ratings heap via his Fox News showcase, “Gutfeld!” (and his show goes on as usual, since its scribes aren’t guild members).

Where does strike leave late-night television? In a bind, to be blunt.

Forbes.com recently suggested the strike will be the kill shot for the format, and the argument has merit. Consumers now go to YouTube, Rumble and their favorite podcasts for fresh political humor.

The late-night shows often score well on social media, but it may not drive enough revenue to keep the suits happy.

We just learned “The Late Late Show” lost CBS roughly $20 million a year to produce. Colbert’s “Late Show” draws higher ratings, but the far-Left host likely makes more per year than Corden did, and Colbert’s ratings are only a bit more than double what the outgoing host brought in.

Is “The Late Show” losing money, too?

It’s certainly shedding influence in the pop culture landscape. Even liberals must be losing patience with a show that ignores the growing Biden administration scandals and a Vice President known more for her word salad speeches than any accomplishments.

The most frightening part for Team Late Night? An extended strike will drive consumers to find alternate ways to entertain themselves before bedtime. They’ll pick up new habits, be it finding funny YouTube videos or exploring free streaming platforms like Pluto TV and Tubi.

They might even stumble across old “Tonight Show” episodes and see how late night television once put an apolitical smile on our faces.

Will late-night hosts return to their shows in a few weeks, sans writers? That’s what happened in 2008 before the strikers settled. The current mood is for artists to stand tall for the writers, showing up at various picket line protests. Doing anything else suggests a detachment from the “true” stars of their shows.

So that path is unlikely for now.

In the meantime, we’ll have to do without the clapter, and finger-wagging which now epitomizes late-night TV. Society might be a tad big brighter as a result.

Written by Christian Toto

Christian Toto is an award-winning film critic, journalist and founder of HollywoodInToto.com, 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 https://twitter.com/HollywoodInToto


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  1. One can only hope. Fewer platforms for empty headed fools is always better. Especially when used to repeat what others tell them to say under the guise of a “talk show”, making it seem more factual. Kimmel and especially Colbert can just vanish.

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