The late night comedy circuit is dealing with a changing of the guard as Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” on CBS is hitting its stride at the expense of Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” on NBC.
For five straight weeks, Colbert has been mopping the floor with Fallon in the ratings, beating him in overall viewership during that timespan. While Fallon can take solace in the fact that he still outdraws Colbert in the 18-49 demographic, sources are saying that he’s being pressured to get “more political.”
According to Page Six, sources said that Fallon “is feeling the pressure. I mean, Stephen Colbert is now beating him in a big way and he has to change his format to keep up because he’s losing viewers.”
The source continued by noting that Fallon is getting more political. “They had to figure out a way to get Trump [into his routine] because he’s too weak on Trump, and viewers are going elsewhere. [He’s been] uncomfortable talking about politics, and that’s not what the people want.”
Colbert has been hitting Donald Trump since the “Late Show” debuted in September 2015. By that time, Trump had surged to the top of the polls in the Republican primary, and most comics were still in shock at his rise. So, Colbert had a lot of material to work with.
Fallon also had a dip in viewership because of his handling of an interview with then-Republican nominee Trump in which the host tussled the candidate’s hair.
In light of the ratings tumble, Fallon debuted a new segment called “This Week in Words” in which the show highlights buzzwords mentioned in the media. It seemingly gives the appearance of being more anti-Trump because the mainstream media had been regarded as being against the president.
At least Fallon and Colbert aren’t going down the route of Samantha Bee in “Full Frontal” by making fun of cancer patients at CPAC.