Late Night TV landscape changing as hosts exit the stage


Trevor Noah arrives at the 74th Emmy Awards on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

(NewsNation) — Technology and changing habits are reshaping the landscape of late-night TV, most notably marked by the departure of Trevor Noah from “The Daily Show” announced last month.

It’s been 30 years since Johnny Carson signed off “The Tonight Show,” handing off to Jay Leno, who handed it to Conan O’Brien, then back to Leno and to current host Jimmy Fallon.

“The Tonight Show” is still going, as is Fallon’s old show “Late Night with Seth Meyers” (the show renamed for its new host and fellow “Saturday Night Live” alumn).

Noah announced he would leave the Comedy Central show in September, saying “I realized, after the seven years, my time is up.”

Many late-night ratings dwindled, and some shows came to an end. Last year, O’Brien ended his late-night show on TBS. Fellow TBS host Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal” will be ending later this year.

LA Times media reporter Stephen Battaglio has been tracking the changes.

“It’s one of the oldest transitional platforms in television and like everything else, that’s all being upended by streaming,” he said.

Perhaps on cue, James Corden will be leaving “The Late Late Show” on CBS next year, around the same time Noah will depart “The Daily Show.”

“It’s just new competition,” Battaglio said. “You’re playing three-dimensional chess now. It’s not just three or four networks anymore. It’s all this other competition. And the audience for everything has eroded.”

When David Letterman handed off to Stephen Colbert in 2015, it was another double departure year. Jon Stewart signed off as the host of “The Daily Show” that year.

“Well, people are still watching and I think they’re going to be around for the foreseeable future,” Battaglio said. “I don’t think the death of late night is imminent.”

In a sign that people are still interested, Jimmy Kimmel was extended for three years to host “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” He joked it will be three more years of “quiet quitting.”

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