Where are the Queens of Late Night?

June 02, 2009

I love Conan O’Brien. I can’t tell you how excited I am that he’s going to be on early enough for me to watch him now that he replaced Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. For those of you who don’t know, Leno moved to a prime-time slot, and Jimmy Fallon replaced O’Brien as the host of Late Night.

But this draws attention to one obvious omission: Where are the women on late night television? I looked up information about cable shows (on networks I don’t even get) to find out there is a woman-hosted show on E! Entertainment Television.

I understand that these are long-coveted, hard-earned positions at the top of their industry, but it still surprises me that in the history of late night television, few women have ever made an appearance. Joan Rivers occasionally filled in for Johnny Carson, and Whoopi Goldberg had a short-lived show in the early 90s, but since the late night format appeared in 1954, it’s been clearly male dominated.

It’s not that there are not talented women out there — it just seems women have been confined to daytime television, nestled in between soap operas. Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Tyra Banks all have successful daytime shows with loyal audiences.

As with any job, I know that there are woman out there that can compete with men for these coveted slots. I just hope I get to see them given a chance.

By:   |   June 02, 2009

1 Comment

  1. Maggie Knight says:

    I can’t stand Conan and will not watch the Tonight Show any more. I am mid-50 and I think age plays a role here. Conan is all about himself while Leno and Carson were INTERVIEWERS.

    They were more involved in show business – Conan started out as writer for The Simpsons – another show I didn’t and don’t watch.

    Jay Leno asked interesting questions, always put his guest at ease.

    Conan likes the camera focused on him. I don’t watch talk shows to see the host. I now have nothing to watch after the news.

    I do like Jimmy Fallon but don’t want to wait an hour to see him.

    I agree, however, we need a good woman host on late night.

    Joy Behar filled in for Larry King a few times and she knows how to ask questions and listen to the answers.

    I’d watch Behar on a talk show again.

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