Skip to comments.CBS, Colbert and Contempt for America
Posted on 04/14/2014 3:44:02 PM PDT by servo1969
Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives have expressed bewilderment over CBSs abandonment of the American Heartland by choosing Colbert to replace Letterman.
Ed Driscoll has contrasted the pick with the Letterman and Leno succession battle. But the real lesson of that battle is that while Leno won on performance, beating Letterman in the ratings, Letterman won on image, retiring as an honored figure, despite his abusive behavior, while Leno was booed out the door
Leno is no conservative, but he left with the baffled bewilderment familiar to many on the right of being the better man who is despised for his success, while his rival who failed miserably as a boss, a human being and a comedian, is leaving with a media ticker tape parade.
The issue wasnt The Late Shift or Conans nervous breakdown; it was cultural. Leno appealed to a more middle class audience, while Letterman, like Conan, was the darling of a trendy wealthy liberal crowd.
NBC entertainment president Warren Littlefield picked Leno over Letterman after asking the guys he played basketball with which of the men they wanted to watch. It was a practical move that wouldnt be repeated today.
Nobody would ask the basketball guys if they would rather watch Colbert or someone funny, because they dont matter.
And thats why Colbert was picked.
The number of people who watch a TV show stopped mattering years ago. If it did, Murder She Wrote, a show that had an older audience and high ratings, wouldnt have been canceled. Instead theres talk of rebooting it with younger multicultural leads in a different setting.
Network television doesnt just fail to count older viewers; it tries to drive them away. A show with an older viewership is dead air. Advertisers have been pushed by ad agencies into an obsession with associating their product with a youthful brand.
The demo rating, 18-49, is the only rating that matters. Viewers younger than that can still pay off. Just ask the CW. Older viewers however are unwanted.
A network television show would much rather have 5 million viewers in the demo than 15 million older viewers. A cable show would rather have 1 million viewers in the demo than 10 million viewers outside the demo.
Colbert and Stewart have the top late night talk shows in the demo. That means 1 million young viewers. Thats barely what Letterman was pulling in on a top network.
Networks, which already have high median ages, are doing everything possible to bring them down. CBS has a median age of 58 and is the oldest network. Colbert is supposed to lower their average.
Lettermans show had a median age of 56. Colberts show has a median age of 39. That a 49-year-old comedian with an audience whose median age is 39 is considered a draw for younger audiences reveals just how thoroughly younger viewers are abandoning television.
But its only part of the story.
Emphasizing the demo took apart televisions family hour and turned prime time programming dark and adult to cater to younger viewers. The values of Middle America vanished from prime time and were replaced with an emphasis on liberal values and shock culture.
The demo however wasnt good enough. Leno still beat Letterman in the demo. But the demo is just one piece of the puzzle. Younger viewers werent good enough. They had to be trendy and wealthy too.
The new ideal viewer combined youth with disposable income. These viewers were supposedly trendsetters. Television was remade on the Friends model full of cheerful consumption shows that showed young, wealthy and white urbanites socializing in an urban setting.
And theres no real doubt that the Friends cast, unlike the basketball players, would have picked Letterman over Leno. Or that they would pick Colbert today.
The ideal television viewer is now in his twenties or thirties, lives in a city, has plenty of disposable income and is highly active on social media so that his or her brand choices influence their peers. He bought a new smartphone in the last 12 months and the next gaming console, he goes to bars and night clubs, spends $400 on video games and $300 on music. He is more likely to do these things than to become a parent, invest in stocks or buy a home.
It goes without saying that he is also an enthusiastic supporter of gay marriage, gun control and Obama. And that he hates anyone who isnt.
CBS does not want Middle America to watch. Chasing away older and conservative viewers by picking Colbert is not a bug, its a feature. CBS would like Colbert to upscale its brand by turning its dying late night show into a low rated program watched by wealthy liberal urbanites whom advertisers will pay much more, per person, to reach.
Television networks arent being foolish by driving away older viewers. Theyre working closely with ad agencies that want the same thing.
CBSs Hawaii Five-O may be highly rated, but it skews to older audiences, which is why it costs $58,000 to advertise on it, while Grimm, which has a smaller audience, charged $82,000. Both shows are about even in the demo, but Grimms viewers are valued more. Blue Bloods may have fantastic ratings, but its audience is old, so its also down at the $58,000 level.
Unlike Mad Men, real ad agencies arent bastions of corporate patriarchy; theyre places where humanities majors get to advance a radical narrative. Advertising has been radical for some time now under the influence of creatives who always insist on pushing the limits. The creatives in ad agencies allied with television programmers, tugged clients at staid corporate firms into doing it their way.
And now advertising, for even mainstream brands, has become much edgier.
The Olympics multicultural Coca Cola ad and the gay rights cereal ads have courted controversy as an advertising strategy. That used to be something that marginal dot com brands did by firing a gerbil out of a cannon during the Super Bowl.
Now deliberately setting out to offend mainstream audiences is something that established brands do in a desperate race to show how youthful, how postmodern and how liberal they are.
Like CBS, they are increasing their brand value by demonstrating their contempt for Middle America.
If you can convince Coca Cola and Kraft to reject Middle America, CBS is an easy sell. The left has won by convincing the biggest companies in the country to build their brand by dumping American values.
Forget Kansas and Iowa; its San Francisco and Manhattan that matter.
Its a terrible strategy for companies like Coca Cola and Kraft, but like Wal-Mart with its embrace of environmentalism and organic food, corporate leadership has trended to the left. And you can see why.
When looking back at the Letterman and Leno matchup. Leno won on performance, but Letterman ended up with the better brand. And corporations put the brand first. They assume that more sales will follow from having a hip brand, than a good product.
The marketplace has been artificially shifted to value some viewers over others. The ideal viewer has become a Frankensteins monster of youth, wealth, social media activity and geography put together so that liberal audiences matter and other audiences dont.
Companies are no longer being polite about it. Coca Cola, Kraft and CBS are actively courting liberal audiences by mocking and rejecting Middle America.
Stephen Colbert, a man whose sole talent is raising one eyebrow while saying nasty things about conservatives, is the perfect face for the new programming of corporate contempt for America.
It goes without saying that he is also an enthusiastic supporter of gay marriage, gun control and Obama. And that he hates anyone who isnt.
And when the urban animals go feral on him, he will wimper in the corner and cry as they beat the life out of him.
“Letterman won on image, retiring as an honored figure”
dirty old pervert
CBS didn’t pick Ellen because they are sexist homophobes.
I like the image.
Hey, it worked so well for J.C.Penney.
CBS Execs just don’t want “The Headache” of hiring someone that might make an actual Obama Joke.
That might get them disinvited from Tina Brown’s next fancy-dress Manhattan party, and that could be a media career-ending event.
What was that verse about tinkling cymbals and sounding brass? That seems to be where these guys live. "Oldthinkers? Off to the crematoria with them!!"
This isn't fear of a political faux pas, it's a cold-blooded corporate decision to exalt a valueless value set in order to woo valueless Urban Animal consumerbots.
“Guy looks just like a hip Manhattan suit who despises hayseed Oldthinker America.”
It is almost as if the networks have decided that middle America or Oldthinker America does not have as much money as the young big city folks.
Given the realities of the Obama economy, they are going to have to re-think that at some point. 55+ is where a high percentage of the discretionary spending power remaining to America resides.
Colbert is the embodiment of the word sophomoric.
He reminds me of every funny guy I met in college. They and their six buddies thought they were really, really funny.
while Leno was booed out the door
Not this one.
I guess the Manhattan upper east side is another planet.
“55+ is where a high percentage of the discretionary spending power remaining to America resides.”
Have you seen the new deductibles for Obamacare plans that go into effect after the next election?
Part of the design is to crush the 55+ demo.
This guy has never sat through a marketing meeting in his life, I suspect. He thinks that it's the networks and the ad agencies that are driving this? It's the advertisers and their marketing people, who are relentlessly data-driven, looking at the ROI for every marketing dollar. Ad agencies execute the brief from the client, including target demographics, and come up with a bunch of ideas, hoping the client likes one of them. Networks program to maximize the revenue from those advertisers.
The advertisers want to make money. It’s that simple.
Amazing how old one looks when the lights aren’t on you just right. He’s got more lines that a piece of Java code.
Explains why legacy network television is hardly ever on in this house.
Why sell suits and iPods to guys who own tractors, when you could be selling to a guy who owns Lamborghinis in three colors?
An advertiser's goal is to make people unhappy with what they have. People consumed by envy, Democrats, are putty in their hands. The Democrat base is TV advertizing gold.
Letterman won on image, retiring as an honored figure, despite his abusive behavior, while Leno was booed out the door. Leno is no conservative, but he left with the baffled bewilderment familiar to many on the right of being the better man who is despised for his success, while his rival who failed miserably as a boss, a human being and a comedian, is leaving with a media ticker tape parade. The issue wasnt The Late Shift or Conans nervous breakdown; it was cultural. Leno appealed to a more middle class audience, while Letterman, like Conan, was the darling of a trendy wealthy liberal crowd.
Honored by liberals. The writer did not mean that a compliment.
Booed out the door by liberal elites, that is.
The conservative writer is using a Limbaugh trick. He takes on the voice of the opposition, and mocks them in the process.
Letterman continuously mocked CBS CEO Les Moonves, until Moonves had enough, called him, and said, “do you have some problem with me?” Dave’s stupid irrational assaults stopped.
CBS president’s wife Julie Chen wreaks havoc on chat show The Talk as she tells co-hosts ‘my husband can fire your a****’
Julie Chen on Jenny McCarthy joining ‘The View’: No one wants to hear her talk about politics
CBS chief Leslie Moonves’ pay was $66.9 million in 2013
Colbert is too snarky for a late night TV talk show
They don't have to worry about me watching this tool. Course I haven't watched Letterman either since he turned into such a bitter old commie (about 20 years ago).
“I like the image.”
CBS has 60 Minutes, which as far as I know is only watched by...old people.
And it's always been a top rated show.
Then again "old people" generally don't stay up to watch the late night shows, so maybe that's where he's coming from.
But if they think that the answer is Colbert, they are sadly mistaken.
You can't consistently insult half of the viewing audience by going full leftist all the time.
Leno knew this. And he is a liberal.
But he was smart, and hired smart writers.
I follow the entertainment media somewhat, and some of the Left side TV critics really got upset about that.
I'll guess that at least some of Leno's live audience got upset, too, although I did not watch the show enough to be sure about that.
Can Colbert function without his shtick (Sean Hannity impersonation)?
I’ve never watched his show beyond a few moments. I never found him either funny, entertaining or interesting. I mean, seriously, doing an impersonation of a “Conservative” news anchor ? That’s like doing an impersonation of a unicorn.
CBS made the wrong choice... but I’m OK with that... I didn’t feel bad when Air American failed.. or Al Gore’s idiot network.
I haven’t watched it either but I’ve read about.
Apparently he plays the character as a closet gay, isn’t that special.
And a certain % of idiots that watch him are unaware that’s he’s not really a conservative. It’s breathtaking.
That’s a stereotype of the far left that they have about those who oppose the militant gay agenda, that they’re gay themselves.
Funny they don’t realize how “homophobic” that is. LOL.
Good article. Thanks for posting the whole thing!
I watched the first few shows of Fallon, then stopped.
I watched Kimmel the week he was in Austin TX and it was fairly good.
I haven’t watched either program since then, as they both have guests I’ve seldom heard of and seem to cater only to the NYC crowd. ....I expect Colbert to do the same.
CBS famously junked their "country hick" shows in the early 1970s (Mayberry RFD, et al) and replaced them with urban dramadies about race relations (All In The Family, Jeffersons, Maude, et al). Someone at CBS was quite vocal at the time about his rejecting the old audience.
Colbert is a Communist slut, period.
An advertiser's goal is to sell products at a profit. It's kinda the way business and the economy works. Creating an itch that only your product can scratch is sometimes an effective way to do that.