Colbert Is Turning Off Conservative Viewers
And that's bad for his ratings and CBS
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Suggested by Guvner
Posted Nov 21, 2015 11:19 AM CST
Stephen Colbert with Michelle Obama on "The Late Show." Ratings have dipped for Colbert and CBS as he continues to make jokes at the expense of conservatives.   (John Paul Filo/CBS via AP)

(Newser) – Ten weeks after his debut as host of The Late Show, Stephen Colbert is falling behind in the late night race, Mediaite reports. And the answer why seems obvious: "Old Comedy Central habits die hard." Colbert is alienating conservative viewers with jokes at the expense of such targets as people who oppose gay marriage or the resettlement of Syrian refugees, according to the Washington Post. A new survey of 1,000 late-night viewers from the Hollywood Reporter found only 17% of people tuning into Colbert are Republicans. And 72% of Colbert viewers say they'd vote for Clinton over Trump. Meanwhile the split between Democrat and Republican is pretty much even among viewers of Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel.

That could be important for the future of CBS' Late Show because—while it was always getting trounced by NBC and Fallon—it's now being beaten regularly by ABC and Kimmel, Mediaite reports. Colbert is finding a niche in political satire—something both Kimmel and Fallon tend to stay away from—but he's going after Republican targets far more often. While that was expected on Comedy Central, on network TV it has "a result about as predictable as whom and what his political targets will be during each night." According to the Post, Colbert needs to find balance if he's going to succeed on CBS. "Colbert knows how to bring down the house by painting conservatives as a bunch of backward xenophobes," the Post writes. "But huge chunks of the electorate probably won’t be laughing along"