According to CBS’s top manager, the network’s goal for diversity in front and behind the camera affected the decision to hire comedian Taylor Tomlinson to fill James Cordon’s time slot.
Stephen Colbert’s new show, which airs at midnight and is based on Comedy Central’s @midnight with Chris Hardwick, replaces The Late Late Show with James Corden.
With Tomlinson in attendance, Colbert broke the news on Wednesday’s broadcast of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
The up-and-coming comic has become one of the most lauded stand-ups in the business, with her first Netflix comedy special, Quarter-Life Crisis, premiering in March 2020 and her second, Look at You, premiering in 2022.
Tomlinson has gained notoriety for candidly discussing personal matters on stage, including her bipolar disorder diagnosis and the early death of her mother.
Taylor Tomlinson had scant acquaintance with the world of broadcast TV and the changes in evening programming before she was linked to CBS’s new late-night series After Midnight. She has become well-known as a rising comedienne because of her stand-up specials on Netflix and her viral video clips on TikTok.
Staff and executives in the late-night industry generally agree that business has declined recently. In recent years, TV shows have been adapted to attract a younger audience, but that same audience is moving toward more flexible viewing habits thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
CBS is attempting something different. The new After Midnight, modeled after the Comedy Central show @midnight, is aimed at a younger audience. The show is hosted by a trio of comedians (formerly Chris Hardwick), who play rapid-fire games based on hotly debated topics from the internet. During Hardwick’s tenure, topics of conversation ranged from the latest Apple emoji to a tweet by Ted Nugent to squirrels consuming milkshakes on YouTube.
This weekend, Tomlinson will be 30, making her the youngest late-night host on television.
She frequently jokes about love encounters and therapy in her stand-up performances, demonstrating her ability to respond quickly to audience reactions. Among the sensitive details she reveals are her mother’s death when she was young, as well as her struggles with mental illness. In one of her acts, Tomlinson jokes that she has a face that makes people feel like they could raise a family with her.
CBS certainly hopes so.