Monday, November 15, 2010

Who Watches Late Night TV and Why?

I listened to Sports Guy's podcast on the changes in the Late Night talk show lineup last week. Its combination of opinion and Hollywood inside baseball was interesting in a detached observational kind of way, but it had no meaning to me whatsoever. I've never watched Jay Leno or Jimmy Kimmel. I've seen maybe 2-3 total hours of Conan and Letterman combined in my life. And while I realize that my viewing habits are not indicative of the country at large, I'm not sure that I know anybody who watches these shows. With Leno, that's to be expected, but with Kimmel, Conan, and Letterman...if millions of people are watching these shows, there should be a reasonable amount of overlap with my demographic.

NBC paid Conan O'Brien $45 million to go away. Jay Leno makes between $20 and $30 million per year. Evidently this is huge business.

On the podcast the guest mentioned that the median age of Leno viewers is something like 55 years old. 55! And this show is on really late at night. Shouldn't people that old be asleep for hours before the opening monlogue?

The median age for Conan was something like 30 years old. Now I understand that "youths" like to stay up late, but shouldn't they be watching Cartoon Network or something on youtube rather than network talk shows?

What's the allure here? These things always struck me as remnants from the 60's, when a 5 minute interview with the Angelina Jolie of the day was the only glimpse the public could get into her life. Now it just seems like a junket to publicize movies/books/TV shows/legislation. If you want more Cameron Diaz, you can just go to her website or buy all her movies or find a story in one of those ridiculous magazines. It's hard to imagine hearing her pitch her new film and chuckle at a few jokes will fill your Cameron Diaz yearning hole. I don't get it.

Also of note, they kept referring to Conan as some "young" guy. He's 47.

4 Comments:

At 6:30 PM, Blogger chip said...

Daniel Snyder you never cease to amaze.

 
At 8:55 PM, Blogger Dave said...

when i was in high school, twenty three years ago, my first use of the VCR was to tape letterman, and then my friends would come over and watch. it was weird and irreverent.

these days i'm in bed most nights before nine, so i often wonder the same thing-- who the fuck is staying up so late and if they are staying up late, why are they wasting it watching TV when they could be drinking at a bar or doing vandalism?

 
At 9:24 AM, Blogger zman said...

My 67-year-old stepfather makes it a point to watch Leno every night. I don't know why; I've asked myself all these same questions that Jerry posits here. I just don't get the idea of late night talk shows.

I, however, like the idea of Cameron Diaz's yearning hole.

 
At 12:19 PM, Blogger Geoff said...

My 66 year old mother watches Jay Leno every night. I also don't get it. I can't imagine how there is ROI for the networks in this arena.

 

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