Here's How Donald Trump Changed Late Night

CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images
Late night changed when Jimmy Fallon tousled Donald Trump's hair. Something in the American mood shifted. Maybe it was just that it seems kind of, uh, tone deaf to have a playful time with an outright bigot. Or maybe people just wanted a change.

Whatever the reason, Stephen Colbert seems to be king of the late night ratings hill. Deadline reports that Colbert has won the ratings battle twice in as many weeks, drawing over three million viewers on average last week.

"The week the former reality TV star was sworn in to office, Colbert’s show was watched by an average 2.84 million viewers – a mere 8,000 behind NBC’s daypart front-runner, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Deadline writes. "CBS insiders whisper that, had not People’s Choice Awards run long on Wednesday night that week, knocking Colbert’s show out of the first quarter-hour, he would have taken that week too. At any rate, Colbert lost momentum when he took off the following week. But he recovered in his return to originals, snagging the first of his two weekly wins in total viewers: 2.77 million."

He's done so by doubling down on the political commentary that he initially shied away from. And he's right to do so. The end of the Obama era saw politics fade into the background; there simply wasn't enough drama to drive ratings. Now, we've seen the monoculture raised from the dead as Trump and his numerous scandals dominate every waking moment. Colbert is the perfect comedian for the moment, and he's risen to the occasion.

There's never been a better time for him to host the Emmys.
Advertisement