Netflix stand-up comedian Taylor Tomlinson has been tapped to fill the late-night television slot of James Corden with a new show called After Midnight, which will air on CBS following The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and will be the only late-night show currently hosted by a woman.
Tomlinson, who shot to fame with two Netflix comedy series and a TikTok account with 2.5 million followers, appeared on Colbert Wednesday night, where she was announced as a late-night host who looks different from her peers: She’s a woman, is 29 years old and claimed on air she’s “never had a real job.”
A Forbes 30 Under 30 alumna, Tomlinson has been performing stand-up comedy since she was 16 years old and was a top-10 finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2015.
A 15-minute set on Netflix stand-up series The Comedy Lineup in 2018 led to an hour-long standalone called Quarter-Life Crisis in March of 2020, and a second special, Look At You, premiered in March 2022.
She went on tour with Whitney Cummings in 2020, and Tomlinson, one of the most followed female stand-up comedian on TikTok, is currently on her own tour of major theaters across the country.
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CBS announced After Midnight will begin in early 2024 and will air at 12:37 a.m. nightly after Colbert and will stream on Paramount the next day. The show is inspired by Comedy Central’s show @midnight, which featured a panel of comedians and was canceled after four years in 2017. The original @mignight, hosted by Chris Hardwick, aired after The Colbert Report on Comedy Central.
“Happy birthday, I got you a network show,” Stephen Colbert told Tomlinson ahead of her 30th birthday on Saturday.
Tomlinson was 8 years old when her mother died of cancer and she leaned into dark jokes and “dead mom jokes” early on in her career. She has three younger siblings and her Christian upbringing features heavily in her comedy routines, as does her experience with dating, sexuality and pop culture. Tomlinson has been open with her diagnosis for bipolar 2 disorder. In the 2022 special, she discusses the importance of taking the right medications for mental health concerns and compares being bipolar with not knowing how to swim. “It might be embarrassing to tell people, and it might be hard to take you certain places. But they have arm floaties. And if you just take your arm floaties, you can go wherever the Hell you want.”
When her show begins next year, Tomlinson will be the only regular female late-night host on television. Few women have broken into late night on a major network since Joan Rivers first hosted a 1986 show that lasted only two seasons. Wanda Sykes hosted a late-night show on Fox for one season in 2009 and The Amber Ruffin Show, made for NBC streaming service Peacock, had a brief promotional run on the broadcast network in early 2021. The show was announced as a specials-only series earlier this year. Lilly Singh replaced Carson Daly in the late-late slot on NBC in March of 2019, but the show was canceled two years later. Cable networks have more history with women in hosting positions. Chelsea Handler had a show on E! from 2007 to 2014, Samantha Bee hosted on TBS for seven seasons and Busy Philipps hosted from 2018 to 2019. Robin Thede and Mo’Nique both had late-night talk shows on BET. Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers currently host the late-night talk shows on ABC, CBS and NBC, and Andy Cohen, John Stewart, John Oliver, Bill Maher, Greg Gutfeld and David Letterman host late night-style shows on cable or streaming services.
Late-night shows have been falling in viewership since their heyday in the 1990s, when hosts like Jay Leno and David Letterman pulled in between 4.7 million and 5.8 million average viewers per night. “Cord cutting”—ditching traditional cable in favor of streaming service and watching on-demand—has been partially blamed for the decline in late-night viewership and the fall in popularity of linear programming overall. Plummeting ratings have come amid a shrinking late-night lineup that has seen the departure of staples like Conan O’Brien and James Corden in recent years.
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