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Opinion: The Last Night of Normalcy in Late Night

As I was watching my normal dose of late night television last night, it dawned on me that this was it. From now on, it will no longer be business as usual. Of course your usual friends will remain. David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly and my personal favorite Craig Ferguson will all remain in place. There won’t be any lineup shakeups as there were last year. Instead of the landscape changing, the grounds on which the late night game is played will be moved.

TBS will enter the late night television realm this Monday. While they have had a minor presence for the last season with George Lopez, the show was very demographically specific, catering to a specific audience. With the addition of Conan O’Brien the network immediately becomes a superpower in this world of pre-sleep television. The real question is how this show will effect the late night environment?

Shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have been around for a number of years in the 11 and 12 o’clock spots. What changes is the format of these various shows. People watch the Comedy Central lineup for a light hearted take on the news. There is almost always a focus on politics. While O’Brien will compete directly with The Daily Show at 11 o’clock, it will surely draw a partial audience from the early late night shows. How many monolougues is someone really going to sit through in a night?

Only time will tell. Here is my take away from the late night scene. I love late night television and believe that the more options the better. Personally, I don’t watch the Comedy Central shows. That leaves me two shows. Although Letterman has grown on me, the two shows I will likely tune into each night are Conan and Ferguson’s show later in the night. That leaves Leno and Letterman on the short end of my proverbial late night stick. My question to you is which shows will you watch?

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