The landscape of American late night television is enjoying the Trump administration, at least from a ratings point of view. Thanks to the rhetoric, gaffes and surrealism of the White House under President Trump, the late night hosts who are more in tune with political affairs are seeing their ratings soar.
Stephen Colbert, the successor to David Letterman on the Late Show, is the current leader of the late night race. For months, Colbert struggled to surpass The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon; ever since Trump was controversially elected, however, the former Comedy Central star has been shining thanks to his incisive and extremely funny political analysis.
When Colbert was still at Comedy Central, he incessantly made fun of the conservative and right-wing movements in the United States. Members of the Republican party were not very happy with Colbert’s comedy, but television viewers loved it. Now that he has moved to a national network, Colbert has been on a roll with regard to making fun of the current administration.
Even Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, which has always been political and silly, is enjoying excellent ratings thanks to the Trump political machine, which is being portrayed as being highly dysfunctional. On HBO, John Oliver and Bill Maher are also getting higher ratings; furthermore, Samantha Bee is working wonders with her show on TBS, a network that was never before associated with late night television.
Producers of late night TV shows believe that there is actual anxiety among Americans who believe that things are bound to get worse with Trump as their leader. This anxiety requires the release of tension, which can explain the higher ratings of late night television during the first quarter of 2017.
The consensus by television critics and industry observers is that late night shows will continue to enjoy high ratings as long as Trump remains in office.