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The Amber Ruffin Show immediately showed it's too good for network TV

  • "For a first episode, last Friday’s debut was remarkably confident and consistent, which is a great sign for the show’s future—a future on NBC’s streaming app Peacock, and not on NBC itself," Garrett Martin says of Amber Ruffin's new Peacock late-night show. Martin notes that the benefit of streaming is that there won't be any ratings pressure and none of the worries of appealing to a mainstream audience. "Should it be taken as a slight or an opportunity that The Amber Ruffin Show airs exclusively on Peacock instead of NBC?" says Martin. "Yeah, every other attempt at a streaming-only late night talk show has failed, and Peacock has only a fraction of the brand awareness of NBC. But streaming isn’t just the future of television but already its present, and at this point a slot on Peacock is about as prominent as, say, the 1:35 a.m. time slot that NBC gave Lilly Singh. So unless NBC was willing to displace Jimmy Fallon or Seth Meyers, Peacock is probably a better place for Ruffin than any NBC time slot that would be available. And really, YouTube is more important than anything—the 'Closer Look' segments from Ruffin’s other job, Late Night with Seth Meyers, routinely draw YouTube numbers that are higher than the show’s TV ratings. The Amber Ruffin Show, in its current half-hour, once-a-week format, probably wouldn’t draw that much more attention on NBC than it’s getting on Peacock, and yet would have more pressure to perform. There’s a strong case that somebody as talented as Ruffin shouldn’t be limited to only a half-hour a week, though. I mean, just watch her show, or her Late Night appearances: She’s as engaging as any of the men who currently host late night shows on the major networks, and more so than a few of them. She’s more than proven that she has what it takes to host her own program. Even with the extreme fragmentation of the viewing audience today, and the glut of late night shows—the most popular of which averages only 3.5 million total viewers a night, the rest all averaging 2 million or less—there’s still a prestige factor that streaming can’t match, and for many a sense that a show on Peacock simply isn’t as important as one on NBC." ALSO: Ruffin Show is a silly and sharp balm for anxious times, especially with the final segment "The Cool Down."

    TOPICS: Amber Ruffin, Peacock, The Amber Ruffin Show, Late Night