Author: Christopher Glotfelty

Ben Stiller on “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis”

After watching a new installment of “Between Two Ferns,” I always ask myself, “Why doesn’t Zach Galifiankis have his own talk show?” Then I remember, “Oh, right. He already had one, and nobody cared.” In 2002, VH1 premiered “Late World with Zach,” perhaps the most lackadaisical Hail Mary in the history of late night television. The show was yanked after two episodes, but Galifiankis had built a large enough profile off his intriguing persona to remain a top act on the comedy club circuit.

Flash forward a few years later and “Between Two Ferns” is one of the most popular comedy series on the Internet, no doubt propelled by the tremendous success of “The Hangover.” Now it seems like the man is everywhere. So, the question remains: Will Zach Galifiankis ever again be considered for a late night talk show?

Actually, I wouldn’t doubt that his name has been tossed around already. Certainly not for a network slot, but perhaps on one of the cable channels looking to make a splash. If George Lopez is on there, there’s room for Galifianakis. I think most young adult males are willing to spend five nights a week with this bearded comedian.

Of course, Conan needs a job first.

“What are you implogging?” Ha!

Leno’s return to ‘Tonight Show’ yields underwhelming ad prices

Jay Leno

According to Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times, a commercial for Jay Leno’s reclamation as host of “The Tonight Show” on March 1 will only cost $35,000. A few years ago, $50,000 was the going rate. Flint cites the competition from the other late-night talk shows, digital video recorders, and the availability of clips on the Internet.

Audience erosion

Indeed, as late-night shows like those hosted by Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert sprouted on cable, viewers have gradually tuned out the networks’ counterparts. The combined audience for NBC’s, ABC’s and CBS’ late-night programs has fallen 20% from five years ago, according to Nielsen Co.

More troubling: The group of viewers 18 to 49 years old — the spend-happy cohort that sponsors most want to reach — has plunged 36%.

Spending money

One of NBC’s arguments in moving Leno into prime time was that, although his show would garner fewer viewers than a drama, its lower production costs would lead to higher profits.

But that doesn’t mean a late-night retinue of producers, writers, stagehands and assistants — O’Brien’s “Tonight Show” employed 190 people — plus the host come cheap.

Letterman and Leno each pull down more than $30 million annually, said people familiar with the productions, and O’Brien earned $12 million. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel makes $8 million to $10 million, these people said.

The price drop is completely understandable. There are more late-night talk shows now than ever before and they need to do this to stay afloat. If one show is charging less, another will have to do the same unless its ratings are dominant. Of course, the advertisers aren’t complaining.

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