A viewer's politics are entering into their decision-making process on whether or not they will watch a show or a host. Hollywood has to grapple with this. But one thing is sure, the stars will continue to push their agendas regardless if we want to know or not.
A few months after President Donald Trump took office, Lorne Michaels, producer of "The Tonight Show," was in a meeting with fellow television executives when one of them asked him about a threat to the late-night juggernaut. Was he worried that his program could face a ratings swoon because host Jimmy Fallon was much less political than rival Stephen Colbert?
Michaels said he wasn't. "He brushed it aside," said a person at the meeting who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about it. "He didn't seem concerned at all. He just said that the pendulum would swing back, and Fallon would be fine."
Michaels turned out to be mistaken. The longtime reigning king of late night, "The Tonight Show" has been steadily losing the race for total viewers to CBS' "The Late Show" as audiences seem to prefer the acerbic anti-Trump comments of the show's host, Colbert, to Fallon's nonpartisanship.
Late-night TV viewers are "making their decisions based on what's happening in the White House," said Rick Ludwin, who ran NBC's late-night programming for years.