Sunday, November 15, 2009

a small tirade

So, what's the deal with daytime shows being less prestigious and fought over than nighttime shows? The only reason I want to pick a bone here is because daytime shows market almost exclusively to women (well, and unemployed people of both genders) that are stay at home moms. Why is the programming for women less prestigious than the programming that is marketed to both men and women, if not just men? Why are all the talk show hosts in the evening white males? Seems like the fight for equality in late night TV as opposed to daytime TV is seriously losing the battle.


student said...

Fortunately, with technological advances, and the changing nature of the modern workweek, I think the "daytime v. nighttime" television debate, and the content of the programming, is also changing. Tevo, DVR, and online streaming make it possible to watch almost any program anytime. They skip commercials and programs in between desirable shows. Combine this with the recent fact that the Internet gives many people the ability to work from home, networks no longer have the predictable, female, unemployed, daytime market they once did. People record the shows they want. They flip to another channel when bored. This makes me think that a lot of the people who watch "The View" or "Oprah" actually want to watch these programs. Television viewers these days seem to have many more choices.

I'm not sure that having "token" minority talk show hosts broadcasts during the daylight hours indicates any great victory for equality. I'm also not sure that late night television (comedy-sprinkled-with-politics) is any more prestigious than daytime shows (cooking-and-fashion-tips-sprinkled-with-politics).

I understand your frustration with network programming. Fortunately, I think the rules are bending—the markets just aren’t as predictable as they once were. And, unfortunately, it really doesn’t matter anymore—I’m pretty sure everything on television now is a whole lotta fluff.

Eve said...

I am not sure what you mean by less prestigious. I think that Oprah and Ellen are more famous than Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O'Brien. I agree, however, that Oprah's and Ellen's time slots are not as good as late night talk show hosts.

Women are not only unrepresented as hosts of late night talk shows, but also behind the scenes. The Feminist Law Profs blog recently had a post about a Vanity Fair article that discovered, "At this moment, there are more females serving on the United States Supreme Court than there are writing for Late Show with David Letterman, The Jay Leno Show, and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien combined. Out of the 50 or so comedy writers working on these programs, exactly zero are women."

If you watch any of these shows, you can almost guarantee that the host will make a racist and/or sexist joke in the opening monologue. If women played a greater role in creating and writing for late night talk shows I would hope that this would be less common. However, given the current landscape I am not sure why a feminist woman would want to work in that environment to change the content.