The Late Night Situation

        By Logan Sowash

        The Late Late Show with James Corden started last Monday to mixed reactions. Many thought his first few episodes were enjoyable due to his lovable personality, while others thought it was nothing special and lackluster. Whichever the case, the early reactions to his show are relevant to how audiences react to late night shows today. Factors such as old age and different tastes have changed late night for better or for worse. There are a few important things to notice about modern late night shows:

        First, a new host always has a rocky start. Do you think Jimmy Fallon or Conan O’Brien were naturals from their initial run on The Late Show? No matter how long they work on the skits leading up to the premiere, the performance always changes when an audience is involved. However, Stephen Colbert’s replacement, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, was solid from the beginning and has only gotten better since its start in January. Despite this outlier, this brings up my next observation: the audience.

Changing out late night hosts, while possibly a positive decision, usually ends in dissatisfaction among the fan base. Established fans often dislike anything that strays from the traditional path. Most people use phrases like, “It just doesn’t feel the same,” or, “It used to be good,” to describe their attitude towards change. This is infuriating when the change is actually a good one, but people just won’t warm up to it. Negative mindsets kill interest for newcomers. Thankfully, another factor has popped up in the last decade that has helped boost late night’s popularity.

Today’s late night shows rely on websites such as Youtube. Up until the mid 2000’s, the only time audiences could catch late night television was watching it live, which was a problem for many due to jobs or school. With video sharing sites, catching up with late night television is hassle-free, with options such as no advertisements or even skipping to specific parts you want to see. Youtube gives the programs a chance to upload clips that are easier to digest and even behind-the-scenes videos exclusive to the platform. These new platforms are perfect for future generations of late night fans, giving them a multitude of ways to follow their favorite late night shows.

In the end, late night shows have gotten better with time. While we don’t have a modern equivalent to the juggernaut Johnny Carson, I believe hosts like Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, and James Corden show that television is progressing perfectly. They set high standards for future hosts and I can’t wait to see how these shows evolve.