Talk shows like Jennifer Hudson need to evolve to survive

Jennifer Hudson He knows how a crowd of people works. When her syndicated talk show aired on Fox on Monday, September 12—which also marked Hudson’s 41st birthday—the ensemble was dressed in bright pink from head to toe: dress, tights, boots, nails, makeup. Before taking her place on the cushioned sofa in center stage, already breathless and on the verge of tears, the EGOT competition winner sang, danced, and hugged after the stunning woman was in the audience. I vowed at the opening of the monologue: “When you see me, you will see my heart.” By the time the clock was up, she had given everyone a vacation to Mexico, surprised the aspiring singer with the opportunity to perform on national television, and in a reservation that included headlines, was her first meeting with Simon Cowell in 18 years since he underestimated her. American Idol.

Even if Hudson and Cowell’s mutual generosity appears a bit artificial, it’s hard to imagine a more dynamic appearance than a more distinguished or charismatic host. A decade ago, this combination of energy and star power might have been guaranteed Jennifer Hudson Show long distance. But in 2022, though Relatively strong initial evaluations, her success is not for granted. (Just look at The Drew Barrymore Showwhose A very popular and likable host struggle with it Poor ratings and other setbacks.) In this transitional moment For talk shows of all kinds, on every platform, as audiences shrink and big names sign, the future of the format itself is uncertain. It is as good as one feels to champion a heritage type that one has mastered Johnny Carson And the operaMaybe it’s time to admit that the talk show as we know it is outdated.

Although television business as a whole is no longer closed between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the field of group talk still revolves around the old school broadcast schedule. As such, September brings with it quite a few premieres for the chat program. Sherry Shepherd, 30 rocks Actor and former co-host of the viewa statement Shery On the same day, Hudson’s first episode dropped. karamuSuch as Queer Eye star Karamo Brownfollowed by September 19.

The influx of new faces—or more accurately, familiar faces topping the new series—reflects the past season’s exodus of daytime activists including Ellen DeGeneresAnd the Wendy WilliamsAnd the Dr. Ozand Morey Povich and Real. (Not all of this series has been left out by the executives; Oz is Campaigns For a seat in the Pennsylvania Senate, while DeGeneres She chose not to renew her contract Amid reports of a hostile work environment in The Ellen DeGeneres Show.) Meanwhile, cancel Full frontal with Samantha BAnd the James Cordenimminent departure from Late Showand the internal explosion From Mehboob Showtime Disus and Miro Suggest big changes late at night.

Not that the shift was particularly abrupt. By 2015, The Hollywood Reporter I was Acquaintance The “talk show solo host” slipped back to four years ago, when Oprah wrapped up her collective co-host, blaming such non-media outlets for celebrity access like social media and TMZ. but Monday day And the in late Time of night The talk has suffered a significant drop in ratings since then, as the broadcast explosion reverberated across the linear TV landscape. (While Nielsen’s numbers no longer tell the full story of a series’ reach—many people watch talk shows across YouTube, social media clips, and streaming platforms—they remain an important measure of financial ability.) exit interview This spring, DeGeneres admitted that the present doesn’t seem like a great moment to enter the “cracked environment” of the day.

Live broadcasts may be the single biggest threat to the talk show’s future. It provides, after all, an endless, on-demand view of TV new and old in every genre, which is more difficult to compete with than the reruns, game shows, soaps, and commercials that line networks program during the workday and after 11:30 p.m. Comedy and music fans who tuned in to late-night shows can now find dozens of stand-up specials and concert movies on most streaming platforms. Not the perfect timely content distribution model, broadcasting also struggled to develop successful talk shows of its own; rest in peace ChelseaAnd the Break with Michael WolffAnd the Patriot Act with Hassan MinhajAnd the The Joel McHale Show On Netflix alone. Offered the opportunity to deal with prominent political and cultural issues that day, most subscribers seem to prefer to escape to Weird things or sunset sale.

However, broadcasting isn’t the only factor contributing to talk shows’ decline. The highly partisan Trump era has dealt a fatal blow to the politically neutral “general public” of past generations. (NBC A failed attempt to make The reaction of Fox News alum Megyn Kelly The palatability of daytime viewers is one example of the utter chaos unleashed by this shift.) – traditionally a major late-night demographic – has They find themselves separated By relying on the medium to repost the same news they already spend all day reading on social media, as well as streams that currently have three white independent hosts named James but none of whom are women, people of color, or members of the LGBTQ community.

Also in the past decade, podcasts have become a major force in entertainment – and a huge subset of the world’s most popular shows, from Call her father to me WTF with Marc Maronare audio-only talk shows optimized for listening anytime, anywhere. Joe Roganwhich remains, for better or for worse, Most listened to podcaster in the USAttracts an audience of around 11 million per episode. Compare that to the most watched chat program of the day, the viewwhich was average 2.4 million During the 2021-22 season, no wonder the leading hosts from Conan O’Brien to me Martha Stewart They refocused their energies on the podcast.

Add all that, and talk shows will begin to appear as victims of organic changes in many industries and demographics, rather than victims of a sudden extinction event. This does not mean that they are all doomed, although many have already done and more will follow; This means that coordination needs to evolve in order to survive. In this respect, broadcast networks and streaming services in particular have a lot to learn from the few offerings that seem to be thriving. Many, like John Oliver domination of amy last week tonightIt only airs once a week – because it can still allocate five precious weekly watch hours to one program? The only long-running talk show on Netflix, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Lettermanhas an A-list host and guests, and produces fewer than 10 episodes per season.

Late at night, unfortunately, I found viewers by repeating satirical political rhetoric on the Internet. Bill Maher, who now directs more anger at “waking up” on the left than on the far right, becoming a popular topic with each new episode. Fox News Gutfeld!a conservative answer to the alleged liberal bent of web hosts, sometimes Swinging broadcast competitors Like Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon in the ratings. In the gentle daytime world – where even the second most watched talk show, Doctor PhilIt was layoffsthe view It maintained its dominance by reflecting the public’s political divide rather than politely ignoring it.

For its part, the young adult demo has fueled the modest successes of cable and broadcast late-night titles whose structures are more fluid and sound more absurd than their broadcast predecessors. The hosts of these shows — Showtime Ziwipeacock Show Amber Ravenadult swimming Eric Andre show—also tends to break the Jimmy/James/John mold, whose obsolescence may be reflected in a file big drop In reviews of Stewart’s Apple TV+ comeback, The problem with Jon Stewart. (Disus and Miro It also would have gone past its fourth season if the hosts hadn’t had a very public feud.)

The Daytime category for 2022 reflects a similar investment in diversity—particularly in black hosts, who remain underrepresented despite notable exceptions such as Oprah, Tamron Halland Whoopi Goldberg. Faced with Goldberg’s hottest often OpinionHudson and his colleague Idol alum Kelly Clarkson tend to Music and audience interaction. Barrymore’s new season ushers in first change of shape Local affiliates will be given the option to run a full hour show or one standalone half hour show. But it’s hard to believe that these largely cosmetic adjustments would solve a fundamental problem. Daytime talk has always been a less fluid, experimental field than late-night, where its traditional audience is students and stars. If she can’t recreate herself in a picture of the Hudson or anyone else, I’m telling you, you may be about to go.

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