From Carson to Kimmel is the story of the fracturing of a media environment that has made niche audiences the coin of the realm. Add on top of this an inflamed anti-Trump resistance cheered on by the elite media, and Kimmel kissing off Republicans is probably a good career move.
His impassioned monologues on health care — originally occasioned by the illness of his little son, Billy — and gun control have won media accolades. A CNN piece even deemed him “America’s conscience.” The press is nice puffery, but what matters to his employer is the ratings, which are notably up.
Stephen Colbert of CBS blazed this particular trail with increasingly over-the-top denunciations of President Trump that vaulted him to the top of the late-night ratings. Jimmy Fallon, the heir to Carson’s “Tonight Show” via Jay Leno, has pointedly declined to make his show the New York Times editorial page with a few jokes attached, and has seen ratings decline.