‘Late Night’ Makes Late Night Look Bleak For Women. So We Asked How Bad It Really Is

The goal was “Mr. Rogers for grown-ups with cocktails meets ‘Pee Wee’s Playhouse,'” says St. Onge, who got her start as Letterman’s assistant (she wrote funny thank you notes for him) and later worked for Rosie O’Donnell’s daytime talk show.

“The world is really hard right now. We wanted to give people something fun and soothing to look forward to, a small treat.”

The show was canceled last month by E!, less than seven months after its debut. (Ironically, days later Philipps spoke on the air about having an abortion when she was 15, and the segment went viral.)

“I went into it with the best hopes,” St. Onge added. “But you’re working in a system where women aren’t given late-night shows on big networks. So women have to take their shows to smaller outlets with fewer resources and less luxury of time.”

With YouTube phenomenon Lilly Singh set to make history on NBC, not only as the first woman with a daily show on broadcast television in more than 30 years, but also as a bisexual person of color, this may change.

“It takes us a long time as a society to shift our mindset,” says Hagel, who sees parallels between the industry’s reluctance to hire female hosts and concerns about the women currently running for president.

“I keep hearing that phrase, ‘I don’t know if she’s electable.’ It’s like, let’s just decide she is and elect her. And it might just take us deciding women are as watchable as men and putting them behind a late-night desk.”
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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