It would be the understatement of the year to say that the late night television scene has undergone major changes in the past year. Almost exactly a year ago, Jimmy Fallon took over for Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show, while Seth Meyers took Fallon's place at Late Night (both on NBC). NBC also announced in 2014 that Neil Patrick Harris would be hosting his own late night variety show sometime in 2015. The late night legend, David Letterman announced his retirement from CBS's The Late Show in 2014 and soon thereafter, Stephen Colbert was announced as his successor. This month, Craig Ferguson stepped down from host of CBS's The Late Late Show and James Corden has stepped in, bringing his British humor to American viewers. And just a few weeks ago, it was announced that Jon Stewart would be leaving The Daily Show after almost two decades of being staple of Comedy Central's late night lineup. You got all that?
Can you guess what is blatantly missing from the paragraph above? You think you know? Well, spoiler alert, the answer is: a woman's name. Do you know why there are no women mentioned above? It is because at the moment, there are no women hosts in late night. In a time where women are only making 77 cents to every man's dollar, I think it is more than necessary to break the glass ceiling, and hire a woman to host a late night show. Here's why:
1. Because it is 2015.
Networks are blatantly sticking to the cookie-cutter archetype, hiring only white men to host late night talk shows. Television companies were founded on the premise of providing intellectual property to their viewers. Though major networks claim to be innovative, their choices for late night hosts indicate anything but. Well-known comedian, Kathy Griffin claims that in a meeting discussing the replacement host for Craig Ferguson, an executive told her, "They're not considering females at this time." Late night television hosts have a tendency to sustain long careers, meaning their spot as the host tends to last anywhere between 20 to 40 years. With all of these funny, young and capable men taking over for the late night legends, it insinuates that another drought of available time slots will occur -- giving little wiggle room for a woman to break in. Do we really have to wait until 2035 for a woman to be considered to host a late night show?
2. We need a women's perspective.
What are the underlying messages executives send when they do not have a women (or a minority) sitting in the late night host's chair? It blatantly tells their audiences that only a man's perspective on political, social and popular humor is necessary after primetime. With the exception of Joan Rivers (who subbed in for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show briefly throughout 1983), no woman has ever been granted the platform to deliver a monologue, interview guests and carry the flow of a late night talk show on a major network. However, many women are the trusted hosts of daytime television. If men can host daytime, primetime and late night talk shows, why couldn't a woman host a late night show?
3. Girls are funny. And there are statistics to prove it.
Amy Poheler and Tina Fey pulled 16.1 million viewers at this year's Golden Globes and a 5.0 rating among adults 18-49. In their reign as hosts of the Golden Globes these past three years, they have repeatedly beat out funnyman Ricky Gervais who hosted back the awards show from 2009 to 2011. Maya Ruldoph's one-hit-wonder variety show, The Maya Rudolph Show aired for one night only in June of 2014 on NBC. The show had 7.2 million viewers and won the 10PMtimes slot (which beat out the second half of ABC's premiere of The Bachelorette that night). Not to mention, Amy Schumer's show, Inside Amy Schumer beat out Tosh.0 (who had 1.9 million viewers) and received 2.0 million viewers in its preimere. That night, Schumer's show was the most-watched show on both broadcast and cable. So if the big-time executives need numbers to make a rational decision, here they are.
4. There are lists of women who have proven themselves worthy of this job. They need to be given a chance.
If Seth Meyers took over for Jimmy Fallon as the correspondent on Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live and then transitioned to the host of Late Night, why shouldn't Jessica Williams, the longtime Senior Youth Correspondent of The Daily Show, take Jon Stewart's seat at the anchor chair?
There are many capable women who could hold their own, if given the chance: Amy Poheler, Wanda Sykes, Kathy Griffin, Maya Rudolph, Amy Schumer, and Sarah Silverman are a few women who come to mind who have made great strides in the comedy field. The list could go on and on. The problem is not a lack of comedic women who could play hardball with the boys of late night; the problem is they are not given the chance. If a major television network were to take a chance and select a woman as a late night host, they would make a historic change and be remembered in history for breaking the glass ceiling of late night.
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