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CBS, Colbert and Contempt for America
frontpagemag.com ^ | 4-14-2014 | Daniel Greenfield

Posted on 04/14/2014 3:44:02 PM PDT by servo1969

Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives have expressed bewilderment over CBS’s 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 wasn’t The Late Shift or Conan’s 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 wouldn’t be repeated today.

Nobody would ask the basketball guys if they would rather watch Colbert or someone funny, because they don’t matter.

And that’s 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, wouldn’t have been canceled. Instead there’s talk of rebooting it with younger multicultural leads in a different setting.

Network television doesn’t 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. That’s 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.

Letterman’s show had a median age of 56. Colbert’s 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 it’s only part of the story.

Emphasizing the demo took apart television’s 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 wasn’t good enough. Leno still beat Letterman in the demo. But the demo is just one piece of the puzzle. Younger viewers weren’t 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 there’s 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 isn’t.

CBS does not want Middle America to watch. Chasing away older and conservative viewers by picking Colbert is not a bug, it’s 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 aren’t being foolish by driving away older viewers. They’re working closely with ad agencies that want the same thing.

CBS’s 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 Grimm’s viewers are valued more. Blue Bloods may have fantastic ratings, but its audience is old, so it’s also down at the $58,000 level.

Unlike Mad Men, real ad agencies aren’t bastions of corporate patriarchy; they’re 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; it’s San Francisco and Manhattan that matter.

It’s 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 Frankenstein’s monster of youth, wealth, social media activity and geography put together so that liberal audiences matter and other audiences don’t.

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.


TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS: cbs; colbert; conanobrien; danielgreenfield; davidletterman; demagogicparty; eddriscoll; jayleno; leno; letterman; memebuilding; nbc; partisanmediashill; partisanmediashills; seebs; stephencolbert; warrenlittlefield

1 posted on 04/14/2014 3:44:02 PM PDT by servo1969
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To: servo1969
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 isn’t.

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.

2 posted on 04/14/2014 3:49:50 PM PDT by henkster (I don't like bossy women telling me what words I can't use.)
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To: servo1969

“Letterman won on image, retiring as an honored figure”

Really?


3 posted on 04/14/2014 3:50:28 PM PDT by lacrew (Mr. Soetoro, we regret to inform you that your race card is over the credit limit.)
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To: lacrew

dirty old pervert


4 posted on 04/14/2014 3:54:09 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: servo1969

CBS didn’t pick Ellen because they are sexist homophobes.


5 posted on 04/14/2014 3:59:13 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (Do The Math)
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To: henkster

I like the image.


6 posted on 04/14/2014 4:04:00 PM PDT by OldPossum ("It's" is the contraction of "it" and "is"; think about ITS implications.)
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To: servo1969
Companies are no longer being polite about it. Coca Cola, Kraft and CBS are actively courting liberal audiences by mocking and rejecting Middle America.

Hey, it worked so well for J.C.Penney.

7 posted on 04/14/2014 4:17:39 PM PDT by Steely Tom (How do you feel about robbing Peter's robot?)
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To: servo1969

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.


8 posted on 04/14/2014 4:19:24 PM PDT by tcrlaf (Well, it is what the Sheeple voted for....)
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To: servo1969
Guy looks just like a hip Manhattan suit who despises hayseed Oldthinker America.

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!!"

9 posted on 04/14/2014 4:20:25 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: tcrlaf
You need to go back and re-read the article.

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.

10 posted on 04/14/2014 4:22:03 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: lentulusgracchus

“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.


11 posted on 04/14/2014 4:24:52 PM PDT by Oliviaforever
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To: servo1969
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.

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.

12 posted on 04/14/2014 4:25:22 PM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ([CTRL-GALT-DELETE])
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To: servo1969

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.


13 posted on 04/14/2014 4:25:58 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: servo1969
On what planet was Leno "booed out the door"?

while Leno was booed out the door

14 posted on 04/14/2014 4:26:36 PM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA

Not this one.


15 posted on 04/14/2014 4:29:41 PM PDT by NathanR
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To: NathanR

I guess the Manhattan upper east side is another planet.


16 posted on 04/14/2014 4:30:45 PM PDT by DManA
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To: Mr. Jeeves

“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.


17 posted on 04/14/2014 4:37:18 PM PDT by Jim Noble (When strong, avoid them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.)
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To: servo1969
Television networks aren’t being foolish by driving away older viewers. They’re working closely with ad agencies that want the same thing.

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.

18 posted on 04/14/2014 4:39:32 PM PDT by Bubba Ho-Tep ("More weight!"--Giles Corey)
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To: servo1969

The advertisers want to make money. It’s that simple.


19 posted on 04/14/2014 4:45:39 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: servo1969

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.


20 posted on 04/14/2014 4:46:57 PM PDT by Lizavetta
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To: servo1969

Explains why legacy network television is hardly ever on in this house.


21 posted on 04/14/2014 4:49:24 PM PDT by mowowie
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To: Oliviaforever
Drilling down on the data .... that is where it has led them.

Why sell suits and iPods to guys who own tractors, when you could be selling to a guy who owns Lamborghinis in three colors?

22 posted on 04/14/2014 4:52:05 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: Bubba Ho-Tep
It's the advertisers and their marketing people, who are relentlessly data-driven, looking at the ROI for every marketing dollar.

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.

23 posted on 04/14/2014 4:56:40 PM PDT by Reeses
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; cardinal4; ColdOne; ...
Thanks servo1969.
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 wasn’t The Late Shift or Conan’s 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.

24 posted on 04/14/2014 5:07:27 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: lacrew

Honored by liberals. The writer did not mean that a compliment.


25 posted on 04/14/2014 5:09:40 PM PDT by heye2monn (MO)
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26 posted on 04/14/2014 5:12:17 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: DManA

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.


27 posted on 04/14/2014 5:13:49 PM PDT by heye2monn (MO)
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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****’
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2031754/CBS-president-Les-Moonvess-wife-Julie-Chen-wreaks-havoc-The-Talk.html

Julie Chen on Jenny McCarthy joining ‘The View’: No one wants to hear her talk about politics
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/julie-chen-jenny-mccarthy-hear-talk-politics-article-1.1545646#ixzz2yuSFkHfK

CBS chief Leslie Moonves’ pay was $66.9 million in 2013
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-moonves-pay-20140412,0,6228241.story


28 posted on 04/14/2014 5:19:44 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: trisham

Colbert is too snarky for a late night TV talk show


29 posted on 04/14/2014 5:21:19 PM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: servo1969
CBS does not want Middle America to watch.

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).

30 posted on 04/14/2014 5:36:54 PM PDT by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Still bitterly clinging to rational thought despite it's unfashionability)
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To: OldPossum; henkster

“I like the image.”

Ditto.


31 posted on 04/14/2014 5:50:26 PM PDT by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: Mr. Jeeves
I'd have to disagree with this article.

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.

32 posted on 04/14/2014 6:29:56 PM PDT by boop (I just wanted a President. But I got a rock.)
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To: DManA
I think the author is referring to the fact that Leno, in his last year, began to make sharp and seriously critical jokes about Obama.

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.

33 posted on 04/14/2014 6:46:26 PM PDT by zeestephen
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To: servo1969; fieldmarshaldj; sickoflibs; BillyBoy; NFHale; GOPsterinMA; Clintonfatigued; Perdogg

Can Colbert function without his shtick (Sean Hannity impersonation)?


34 posted on 04/14/2014 6:50:39 PM PDT by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: Impy

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.


35 posted on 04/14/2014 6:53:44 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: servo1969

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.


36 posted on 04/14/2014 7:24:47 PM PDT by GOPJ (MSNBC reporters couldn't spot a criminal if he was at the company Christmas party.)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

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.


37 posted on 04/14/2014 7:30:24 PM PDT by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: Impy

That’s a stereotype of the far left that they have about those who oppose the militant gay agenda, that they’re gay themselves.


38 posted on 04/14/2014 8:10:29 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Funny they don’t realize how “homophobic” that is. LOL.


39 posted on 04/14/2014 8:29:33 PM PDT by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: servo1969

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.


40 posted on 04/15/2014 1:12:56 AM PDT by octex
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To: Oliviaforever
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.

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.

41 posted on 04/15/2014 5:36:30 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (The new witchhunt: "Do you NOW, . . . or have you EVER , . . supported traditional marriage?")
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To: Impy; servo1969; fieldmarshaldj; sickoflibs; BillyBoy; NFHale; Clintonfatigued; Perdogg

Colbert is a Communist slut, period.


42 posted on 04/15/2014 5:46:58 AM PDT by GOPsterinMA (You're a very weird person, Yossarian.)
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To: Reeses
An advertiser's goal is to make people unhappy with what they have.

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.

43 posted on 04/15/2014 12:08:55 PM PDT by Bubba Ho-Tep ("More weight!"--Giles Corey)
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