Colbert is just as unappealing to younger viewers as Letterman
I almost regret that Jon Stewart didn't take the late night hosting gig. Seeing him fail miserably in an actual competitive situation would almost make up for having to see his smug sneer on every single bus in the city. But after a week of seeing Colbert's sneer on every bus, the failure has come.
And after the usual opening number debut, Colbert's ratings have already come crashing down.
He lost to Fallon in the second night. His 18-49 ratings, which are the only thing audiences care about were cut in half.
How bad are his numbers? He seems to be pulling in the same 18-49 ratings as Letterman did by only his second night. Apparently younger viewers weren't all that excited to watch Colbert talk to Jeb Bush. After all the hype, Colbert is just as unappealing to younger viewers as Letterman.
And he may not have even hit his floor yet. If this is how badly he's doing by his second night, it's likely that Colbert's 18-49 numbers will be worse than Letterman's.
About the only thing you can credit CBS and Colbert for is that both sides had low expectation. CBS is paying Colbert less than his old salary. It's a fraction of what Letterman was getting paid to fail just as hard as Colbert. So at least CBS got a bargain. A slightly younger and much cheaper left-wing hack whose videos will always be pushed as viral, along with John Oliver's latest bleatings, whether anyone watches them or not.
Does CBS care? Probably not. The entertainment industry is narrower than ever and reflects the tastes of a small group of people in Manhattan and LA. And Colbert probably beat Fallon in these markets. So CBS will settle down to another few years of paying a left-wing hack to lose to NBC. Before the networks collapse altogether and Colbert ends up hosting pet tricks videos on YouTube.
Or more likely running for Senate. If Franken did it, why not him.