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May 19, 2024

Tomlinson’s “After Midnight” Receives Lukewarm Reviews in CBS Debut

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Jan 17, 2024

Comedian Taylor Tomlinson made history this week as the only woman currently hosting a late night talk show on broadcast television when her new series “After Midnight with Taylor Tomlinson” premiered Tuesday night on CBS. While some critics praised Tomlinson’s quick wit and charm, overall reviews of the show’s first episode were mixed.

High Hopes Dashed by “Safe” Writing and Format

Going into Tuesday’s big premiere, expectations were high for Tomlinson to bring a fresh young voice to the late night landscape. The 29-year-old stand up comic skyrocketed to fame after her Netflix special “Quarter Life Crisis” debuted in 2019, making her one of comedy’s biggest rising stars.

According to a Variety review, Tomlinson showed she has “undeniable talent and magnetism” in the first episode. However, many critics felt the writing played it too safe instead of letting Tomlinson’s talents shine. A Cracked article said the show followed the “tired late-night format” too closely, complete with an announcer, house band, scripted monologue, and guest interviews.

This safe approach may have contributed to the show’s lackluster ratings on opening night. According to overnight Nielsen numbers reported by Deadline, Tomlinson brought in just 2.7 million viewers for her debut. That number puts her behind all other network late night hosts and even behind some cable competitors.

Host Show Network Viewers (Millions)
Jimmy Fallon The Tonight Show NBC 3.2
Jimmy Kimmel Jimmy Kimmel Live! ABC 2.9
Stephen Colbert The Late Show CBS 2.8
Taylor Tomlinson After Midnight CBS 2.7
James Corden The Late Late Show CBS 1.8
Samantha Bee Full Frontal TBS 1.1

(Overnight premiere viewership numbers via Deadline)

Mixed Guest Reviews: Whitney Cummings Shines, Max Greenfield Falls Flat

Tomlinson was joined in her first show by guests Whitney Cummings and Max Greenfield. Cummings, a stand up comedian and actress known for creating the sitcom 2 Broke Girls, was widely praised for matching wits with Tomlinson and adding bursts of energy to the episode.

“Cummings and Tomlinson played off each wonderfully in a way that showed two female comics at the top of their game,” said US Weekly.

Meanwhile, actor Max Greenfield failed to make much of an impression. Greenfield currently stars on The Neighborhood on CBS and appeared on the hit show New Girl, but came off as boring compared to the two comedians.

“Max Greenfield was clearly overshadowed and steamrolled by the two talented standups,” wrote a reviewer at The Daily Mail. “Hopefully future celebrity guests can keep up better with host Taylor Tomlinson’s quick pace.”

Network Hopes Show Can Build Audience Over First Weeks

CBS is likely disappointed that Tomlinson’s debut fell short of other late night shows after investing heavily in promotion. The network aired Olympics promos, ran magazine ads, and even had Tomlinson make an appearance during an NFL playoff game last weekend.

However, the network may be hopeful viewership will increase as fans get to know Tomlinson better. She showed herself as charming and relatable in interviews leading up to the premiere, often poking fun at her own lack of late night experience.

“I don’t really know how other talk shows work,” Tomlinson told Rolling Stone last week. “I’ve only ever worked on my stand up before this. But maybe that Beginner’s Mind, as the Buddhists say, will make this feel different than other talk shows.”

Upcoming guests including Whitney Cummings, RuPaul, and the star of hit sitcom Jenna & Raj, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, so Tomlinson will have plenty of chances to show her skills.

CBS entertainment president Kelly Kahl also expressed confidence that Tomlinson can develop an audience over time.

“We’re in this for the long haul with Taylor and know she will hit her stride as viewers get to know her,” Kahl told Deadline.

As the only woman currently hosting a broadcast late night show, all eyes will be on Tomlinson to see if she can stand out in the weeks and months to come.

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By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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