Review: The premiere of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert


I stayed up way past my normal bedtime last night to catch Stephen Colbert’s debut as a late night talk show host. It has been many, many years, decades even, since I watched TV for any length of time and it reminded me once again of how much I positively hate watching TV.

The show began at 11:35 pm last night and I turned on the set at 11:20 and got the tail end of the local news. It was maddening. A sports announcer spoke at breakneck speed about various games and there were a bunch of commercials and inane banter between the two anchors, sports guy, and the weather guy before Colbert’s show began.

The show itself was high energy and incorporated some elements of his former show but I must say that I find the whole talk show format unappealing. It is clear that he is going to have more topical political humor than his competitors, which is a good thing but that seems to be the main distinguishing feature of this from other talk shows. His guests last night consisted of George Clooney and Jeb Bush and for future shows he has scheduled Stephen Breyer, Bernie Sanders, and Ban Ki-moon, the kinds of people who are usually absent from such shows.

Colbert’s show also had a lot of commercial breaks which were annoying. I understand that the business model for free TV depends on commercials but for me the price is too high. There are far too many long and irritating commercials to make me want to endure it again. When I watch online clips, there is usually one 15 or 30 second ad before a clip and I find that an acceptable trade-off. I will likely only watch clips of this show online too.

You can see the first episode in full here.

Comments

  1. atheistblog says

    Or, you can be like me, think of you living in outer edge of solar system, you will be like 20 something hrs from earth, for you are watching online on your regular day, but earth or tv shows are one day ahead. That’s how I watch any TV shows if I ever want to watch any.

    And, this TV’s are gonna be outdated in a decade or two, already outdated among us, the millennials, most of my friends don’t have cable, we watch anything through only internet.
    Once we become the majority, I am wondering what will happen to these election campaigning and the TV ads ? How much these politicians have many, how much they wanna spend on TV, it will have less effect.

    They will bring their ads to the internet, the things about the internet is, they can’t just impose on us anything they want like they do on TV.

  2. John Morales says

    Colbert’s show also had a lot of commercial breaks which were annoying. I understand that the business model for free TV depends on commercials but for me the price is too high.

    Digital Video Recorders are pretty cheap.

    I watch nothing on live TV; what I watch, I first record and then I get to zot the ads and the crap. Satisfying, that.

  3. Trebuchet says

    I watched via DVR. The commercials were still too long. The monologue was good. The Clooney interview was sad and boring. The Bush interview was worse. And the whole OREO skit was about eight times too long.

  4. Mano Singham says

    I agree that a DVR would solve my problem. But I watch TV so very rarely (it has been at least a year before the Colbert show) that even a small investment of money (and time to learn it) seems not worth it.

  5. kevinkirkpatrick says

    Digital Video Recorders are pretty cheap.
    I watch nothing on live TV; what I watch, I first record and then I get to zot the ads and the crap. Satisfying, that.

    I do wonder about the endgame here – it seems either:

    1) TV ads will become more intrusive – some possibilities:
    * 5-second ads every 3 minutes (too quick for DVR FF)
    * Product placement so intrusive that line between show and commercial is blurred
    * Ads placed on screen during show

    or

    2) Advertisers will note rapid decline of correlation between product recognition and program-viewing-audience-size, cease investing in adverts within the medium, resulting in collapse of “expensive content for free” model.

    or

    3) Content producers will force television/DVR manufacturers to “cripple” ability to skip over advertisements (i.e. content encrypted and decryption keys only delivered to compliant manufactures).

    4) The demographic of people willing to seek out and use ad-skipping technology will remain sufficiently marginal – the few who can’t stand and proactively work to avoid ads will perhaps always be outnumbered by the “meh – needed to grab a snack anyway” crowd.

    Any other possibilities?

  6. anat says

    Kevin, I think if your scenario 2 is to ever happen, it will only be after much of scenario 1. Behavior becomes a lot more noisy just before a tipping point.

  7. says

    I mainly watch shows I recorded on DVR (except for the Super Bowl). So I too zap through the commercials. Most shows have 6 minutes of commercials each break, so it’s rather easy to just press the jump forward button 6 times (true, I see a montage of stills, but it only wastes about 15 seconds of real time which I find tolerable).

    Now, as to the intrusive product placement, just watch a children’s cartoon such as GI Joe or My Little Pony (one of the banes of having little children) – THOSE ARE 30 minute long toy commercials with (guess what) more commercial breaks of toys such as, oh, GI Joe or My Little Pony.

    To remain on topic, I did not watch The Late Show with Steven Colbert, but I would not expect radical changes to the late night talk show format.

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