Colbert takes over for Letterman; white males still dominate
Late-night television continues to lack inclusion of women, minorities
Stephen Colbert will take over for David Letterman next year when Letterman retires from 21 years as the host of "The Late Show." An appropriate decision, though it blatantly reasserts the nearly all-white and all-male command over late-night television.
Following Letterman's announcement that he would be retiring, speculation and suggestions flew on who would replace the iconic television host. The announcement that Colbert would fill the role delighted many, though the retiring of his likeably naÃ¯ve, eternally perplexed faux-conservative character Stephen Colbert will surely leave a void. Ire has continued to erupt, however, as the decision maintained the status quo currently dominating late-night TV - shows hosted by white males.
The controversy is not unwarranted. The homogeneity so pervasive across late talk shows is troubling in 2014.
The issue is less with Colbert himself than the larger precedent that marches unchallenged. Despite that #cancelcolbert debacle last month, the political and social satirist has enjoyed surging popularity over the years. Left-wing, relatively radical and pithy to a fault, Colbert will bring a fresh air to the show.
CBS is likely most attracted by the coveted younger demographic Colbert will bring along with him.
Beyond just speculation that a woman or minority might take the helm of Letterman's show - Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Al Madrigal were considered around blogs as potentials picks - the announcement came on the heels of Chelsea Handler's decision to retire from her show following the expiration of her contract in nine months. Handler's show, "Chelsea Lately," was among the only late-night shows not hosted by a white male, along with Arsenio Hall's program on the CW Network.
The glaring discrepancy across the dial come 11 p.m. is striking in an age in which diversity is proclaimed to be more highly valued. The issue goes beyond just the Colbert replacement.
A series of lineup changes have occurred over the past year with Jimmy Fallon replacing Jay Leno and Seth Meyers replacing Fallon. With Colbert just a step from completely safe, given his more vocal political stances than Letterman, bemoaning this as just another move from a time slot dominated by old white men to one dominated by slightly less old white men hardly seems outrageous.
CBS certainly missed an opportunity to fill an entertainment and cultural void, but so too have other networks. Lamenting the decision is less a negative comment on Colbert's ability or the appropriateness of the change as it is an attempt to point to an evident deficiency in a small yet significant arena.
Diversity and inclusion are about more than just having a singular minority or female host on a late-night show. It is about a shift in the script, a change in the norm, a move to a state in which such striking lack of multiplicity is not readily apparent or assumed.
Surely it is only a matter of time until the current begins to shift, though it is deplorable it has taken this long.
Choosing a host who is a woman or of any ethnic or racial minority would have been a historic move on CBS' part, breaking long-standing gender and racial norms. That honor, however, will likely have to go to another forward-thinking station.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More ubspectrum News Articles
Recent ubspectrum News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR UBSPECTRUM NEWS
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST UBSPECTRUM NEWS
- Buffalo’s defense finally shows up
- Bulls defeat Spartans 36-7 behind a dominant defensive performance
- Gridiron Report Card: The Spectrum grades the Bulls’ 36-7 win over Norfolk...
- À la Mode: Style Guide
- Unprecedented number of students prompt increased tailgate patrol
- UB looks to overhaul general education requirements
- StandWithUs brings Charlotte Korchak to UB to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian...
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Wondering if it's Time to Buy a New Car? Just Check Your...
- Smartphone to Become Wallet -- Are Customers, Businesses...
- Grandparents, Keep Your Meds Up and Away From Young Children
- As Insurers End Coverage for Compounded Drugs, Patients...
- 4 Tips to Start Your Day a Little Earlier
- Join the Force to Fight Lung Cancer in Women
- If You Want to Help Avoid Back Problems, Stop Slouching
- Common-Sense Strategies From a Natural Marketing Guru
- 10 Steps to Help Older Adults Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls
- Stay Cool for Next to Nothing: Power Down the AC on...
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- Peace Corps Director Calls on College Students to Make a Difference After Graduation Through International Service
- USA NETWORK AND VERIZON LAUNCH THE “CHARACTERS UNITE COLLEGE TOUR” COMPETITION FOR STUDENTS TO BRING A USA NETWORK CELEBRITY AND A WORTHY CAUSE TO THEIR CAMPUS
- WHEN GEORGIA SMILED: THE ROBIN MCGRAW REVELATION FOUNDATION TEAMS WITH PIVOT AND STUDENTS OF THE WORLD TO LAUNCH THE #iASPIRE GRANT CONTEST
- Latino Groups Launch National Campaign to Deliver Record Latino Turnout for 2014 Midterm Elections
- The Power of Peer Support: Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" Hits Campuses