Late-Night TV is Back, But Does it Really Matter?

Since the summer of 2023, late-night TV has been off the air as well as many other Writers Guild of America-associated productions. In the past weeks, beloved hosts such as Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and Stephen Colbert have returned live on cable TV. Late-night TV is finally back! But, honestly, do we even care anymore?

When asked if they watch late-night TV, our editors all agreed that if they do, it would be on either YouTube or TikTok clips—none of them actually watching it live on cable TV. One editor explained, “If there’s a guest that I particularly want to see the entire interview/performance of, then I’ll venture to YouTube to watch the whole thing. I’ve never watched an entire episode of late-night TV.”

To go even further, they were asked if any of them even watch cable TV anymore. Some stated they watch it occasionally while others don’t watch it at all. “I used to watch cable TV quite frequently, but at school, I don’t watch it all and just use streaming services,” one editor explained. “Even back at home, we just got rid of our cable plan to save a little extra money and only stick to the streaming services.”

“Why would I want to flip through channels when I can choose what I want to watch?” another editor pointed out. The recent increase in the popularity of streaming services, mostly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has decreased the need for cable TV. Streaming services are more accessible and are tailored more to what the viewer wants to watch.

When the editors were asked if they noticed late-night TV was gone throughout these months, all of them were in agreement that they did not. One editor commented, “I’m not a big fan of late-night TV, and I feel it is outdated for the current generation. I think people who grew up with late-night TV still watch it but that’s about it.” With the increase in accessibility to celebrity culture, viewers are starting to outgrow the need for late-night hosts to interview their favorite celebrities.

If fans want to learn information about one of their favorite celebrities, they don’t go to late-night TV anymore. “I first go to TikTok or Instagram,” one editor explained. “These are updated quick on my FYP or through the people I follow.”

Another editor went off this by saying, “To watch an interview of a celebrity, I more often than not go to YouTube. TikTok clips often don’t show the whole interview, which then leads me to YouTube for the whole thing.” With YouTube and other apps, viewers no longer have to sit through ads and opening monologues. They can now solely see content with a celebrity.

In the past years, the largest and most successful late-night TV show was “The Late Late Show with James Cordon”. Cordon brought something new to late night with his carpool karaoke series and other great games that exposed fans to more sides of their favorite celebrities. Recently, this show aired its last episode in April 2023. Even though this was the biggest late-night show of current times, only two of the editors even noticed it was gone: “I saw it on TikTok and many people I follow on Instagram reposted the announcement.” For everyone else, it was new information.

“I did not notice that James Cordon’s show was canceled. If anything, I would’ve assumed that it was still going since I always thought it was a relatively successful show,” one editor commented.
Another editor stated, “I did not notice James Cordon’s late-night show was canceled; I never really followed him.”

As celebrity culture becomes more accessible over time, the need for late-night TV will soon die out. Now that the strike has concluded, as well, fans will now realize what they were, and weren’t, missing over these past four months.