Late-Night TV is Dead: Liner Notes

My latest column at The Federalist: “Late-Night TV Writers Know They’re Awful, But Their Solutions Are Worse.”

This was another case where I had the basic thrust of a column, based on the Mel magazine article quoting TV writers admitting late-night TV is unwatchable. But I was waiting for the news peg that would make the discussion timely and thus more likely to be published. Here, it was the White House Correspondents’ Dinner — and the great Andrew Ferguson’s column about it as an entry to writing about late-night.

What got left out for space? Solutions, other than the key ones: work harder and be funny. The TV writers complaining about late-night may also have a point about the format (though someone working harder and funnier might reinvigorate the standard format). I could have written entire section recommending TV folks look at the late lamented “Red Eye,” which ran in the dead of night on FNC — and in particular its run under Greg Gutfeld through 2015.

Lefty TV types don’t have to love that show’s politics (though they might hate them less than they think). But the show’s use of unconventional guests of varying politics, its employment of Andy Levy as an ombudsman, its parody of cable news, and the random viral videos (which recalled not only Monty Python, but also the sort of random experience we now get on social media) made for a fresh and funny viewing experience. Late-night could do worse; it already is.

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