Comedy Channel: No reprieve for Letterman, Fallon & Leno

David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno won't be returning to the Comedy Channel despite protests from subscribers.

The Comedy Channel has no plans to return late night US hosts David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno to its schedule, despite some protests from angry subscribers.

The channel dropped the three hosts from its line-up at the end of June, replacing them with reruns of Saturday Night Live.

Foxtel claims the shows were not rating but declined to detail any figures. It also didn’t respond to questions about airing in different timeslots.

However TV Tonight has learned that the shows were indeed struggling to resonate.

The Late Show with David Letterman averaged 3,057 viewers across weeks 1-26 in 5 metro cities. Chelsea Lately on E! averaged 9,273. The latter show is another Tonight show airing in a similar timeslot on a channel with the same subscriber tier.

A Comedy Channel source told TV Tonight the shows are very expensive to acquire and it has opted to invest more in local productions, to be announced shortly. It is also awaiting Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show on TBS and would reassess its position later this year.

53 Responses

  1. I used to watch these shows on Comedy Channel pretty regularly, but I stopped tuning in after Conan left the Tonight Show. Looks like a lot of others did the same. I could care less about Jay Leno, but I’ll be disappointed if Conan’s TBS show doesn’t get picked up by 7TWO or GO!. Goodbye Foxtel, Hello Freeview!

  2. I am not happy with the Comedy Channel taking Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmell off their channel. I spoke to a Foxtel representative and he said they took these programmes off because they weren’t very popular with the viewers, but I would say that it’s got something to do with cutting costs. With all the revenue Foxtel get from airing so many commercials, and the skyrocketing monthly subscription they should be able to afford them. If anything, all the Foxtel Subscriptions should be cheaper as they get huge amounts of money from all the commercials they show. Foxtel members should start a petition to either stop the large amount of commercials shown or get cheaper subscriptions.

  3. Ratings v Dollars… ***Pay*** TV prefers ratings? Really????
    OK, they have me down to a basic subscription thanks to this decision. And I made it clear my $$$ would be gone for good if Fallon -who I adore- wasn’t picked up elsewhere. No sign of LNWJF anywhere on Foxtel, so I’ll cancel my sub by the end of July. Internet (non-Telstra!) viewing is more difficult, but I have no alternative…

    Do they honestly expect people to pay for repeats and other shows we can watch for free? Letterman is on FTA, Leno on Digital (along with Colbert & Daily Show), most TCC repeats -Scubs, South Park, Chaser, Summer Heights High, not to mention reruns in the ‘Aussie Gold’ and ‘Best of British’ blocks are on (or have already been seen -some 30+ years ago!- on) FTA/Digital. Other shows on Pay like Ellen & G.Norton can seen on FTA/Digital.

    We couldn’t expect TCC to cough up for a totally Fresh and exclusive late night line up like Fallon, Ferguson, Kimmel could we? No! So, unless you’re an absolute sports nut (live and exclusive, what now?) what is the point of Pay TV?? As more people connect to and get used to tuning in to it, Digital -a lot of reruns for free- will kill Pay TV and in all honesty I can say, good riddence, what a rip off. Here’s a clue to the ***Pay*** TV programming dummy’s – we’re Paying you to take risks and accept “lower ratings”. If you’re not prepared to do it, we Won’t be paying you at all!!!!! Get it or get out before you kill your industry!

  4. People here are right that the late night shows were Comedy’s only asset, now most of them are gone, SNL hasn’t been funny since Will Ferrell left, you can see Daily Show/Colbert on ABC2 and their ‘local productions’ are an unmitigated suckfest.

    The only reason I won’t drop the channel is because E! is on the same tier and “The Soup” is the funniest show on television.

    For all those people wondering about Conan – TBS is a Time Warner channel so presumable Nine may have first refusal – I would expect his new show to turn up on GO!

  5. I could never figure why Letterman was on TCC in the first place – it’s already on FTA every night anyway. As for Leno – surely the later timeslot didn’t help. Glad to see Chelsea Lately has a following – it’s a good show.

  6. Thanks for that.

    I noticed Rachael Ray was missing but I just thought it had moved and didn’t think much of it as I don’t really watch it but along with The Price is Right that is one big list, maybe they should pass those savings on to the customers who got Pay TV to see shows like that that FTA no longer carries.

  7. I an very disappointed in Foxtel by dropping the Late Night shows from the Comedy Channel.

    For one thing, I thought subscription TV was beyond ratings when it’s my dollar that is prepping up your programming. Advertising was never meant to be on subscription television when it first went to air in this country. But now that we have advertising plus your own subsctibers you must be raking in the dough. But I digress.

    I love all the late night shows. Letterman, Leno, Fallon and Kimble were all great. Australia does not have a late night show taping into local and current events on a nightly basis. I think we should, but until then the American shows are all we have.

    If you’re worried about the Comedy Channel losing “viewers” or “ratings” then may I suggest a channel that sits alone like Ovation does now. A channel completely dedicated to the Late Shows.

    Letterman, Leno, Fallon, Kimble plus Craig Ferguson, Bill Maher, Carson Daly, Bonnie Hunt, George Lopez, Chelsea Lately and the current Saturday Night Live as it goes to air in the US. I certainly hope to see Conan O’Brien returning to our screens in September when he comes back on TBS later this year. Add to these line ups repeats of Johnny Carson, Greame Kennedy, Don Lane, Rove and Steve Vizard and that is one hell of a good channel.

    With the introduction of digital free to air I also thought you would want to be more competitive. As it is, I will be switching off my Foxtel and going completely free to air.

  8. Go to Facebook and join us on Bring back the late night legends – public figure .
    as a step towards reinstating these shows to Aussie tv. Also falling victim to Foxtel’s axe is Drew Carey on U.S. The Price is Right and Rachael Ray.
    We must help The Tonight show with Jay Leno , Late Night with Jimmy Fallon , Jimmy Kimmel Live , Craig Ferguson , Rachael Ray and U.S. The Price is Right come back on air .

  9. Why do I $100 a month for TV….oh well guess I can save $16.00 a month and watch reruns of TV shows that were shown on free to air in the 70’s and 80’s on another channel because I will be getting rid of Comedy.

  10. If Comdey is trying to focus on local productions they should get the Chaser boys to do a live nightly show with guests as well as including their usual Chaser style skits in public – that I would watch

  11. I loved Jimmy Fallon’s show but couldn’t watch it that often because of the inconvenient time slot. I really don’t understand why they didn’t just change the schedule instead of getting rid of these shows. Maybe I should ditch pay tv and just watch what I want online.
    Also, do they think that local productions are going to rate any better?

  12. I think Comdey have underestimated how many people are interested in these shows and how likely it may be for people to start cancelling Comdey Channel part of their package, or even Foxtel altogether – its surprised me how many people have said they are considering this. If people just stopped their channel as a protest, maybe they would bring the shows back? I wonder how bad the ratings will be of the shows which have replaced the late night talk shows? What do they do if their ratings keep sliding, do they then bring back Leno, Fallon, Letterman in the near future, and Conan in Nov? To watch these shows again on Australian TV(apart from Letterman currently on Ten) you will have a long wait unless you have a time machine as you will have to go into the future, all the way to the year………3000!

  13. I’m not surprised i’m one fan who decided not to watch after the change.When Conan comes back it should be Conan,followed by Jimmy Kimmel,then Leno
    What has hurt them though Leno should have always been on first followed by Letterman then the horrible Fallon last

  14. ITA they should consider 2nd teer shows, leave Letterman for TEN and maybe Seven can pick up Leno again. TCC should do Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien when he returns. Cheaper shows the costs might work out.

    Wonder if they will release the numbers from this week, to see the drop off since the start of the month?

  15. Well to be honest the excuses sicken me. Too expensive they say, well Austar is quick to take out the $128 each month. I have totally lost faith in this channel. It seems to run by money hungry suits that don’t actually care about their audience. just take our money and run.

    I’m sure if they surveryed their subscribers, the people that keep them on the air, they would prefer fresh nightly guaranteed laughs instead of the local turkeys they have produced in the past. Do I need say anything more than Comedy Slapdown!

    For the Conan fans, don’t worry, even if they acquire it, they will treat it with the same disdain as they did to Jay, Jimmy Fallon, Dave, Bill Maher and Jimmy Kimmel.

    Time to start treating your subscribers properly, before you don’t have anymore left to annoy. Thank heavens I can watch most of The Tonight Show on NBC’s website.

  16. Are those figures just the people who watch it live or do they include people who have IQ’d it and watch it later because I have never watched Jimmy Fallon live, I always record it and watch it back the next day.

  17. I agree with Craig it’s more to do with money/cost then ratings.
    The only shows i watch on comedy channel was the late night shows along with The Colbert Report ·& Jon Stewart tho with those on ABC i don’t really need CC…

  18. ‘invest more in local productions, to be announced shortly.’ HA the comedy channel pulls off another side splitter.Even if they do come up with something local my money will be on it being a dud! like the rest of the local tripe they palm off as entertainment.

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