In a recent profile, Full Frontal host Samantha Bee told Rolling Stone that she, unlike many Daily Show viewers, had never expected to take over Jon Stewart’s role—and that her acceptance of TBS’s Full Frontal offer came in part out of her own assumption that she would be passed over. “It didn’t seem like a reality to me, to be perfectly honest,” she said.
Rolling Stone’s profile chronicles Bee’s rise from a slightly rebellious teen who, in order to get out of finals, made her boyfriend smash her hand with a rock, to a highly successful late-night host who—somewhat to my dismay, as a person who can never, ever imagine herself doing this—wakes up at 5 a.m. every day and makes “at least a dozen meals” for her family of five.
Her hiring practices at Full Frontal, whose common-sense demographics (50 percent female, 30 percent nonwhite) have already made headlines, are not unrelated to Bee’s innate understanding of the experience that is being unfairly overlooked:
“Jon loved Jo and believed in her for sure, but I don’t know how imminently anyone was ready to offer her up her own show,” Bee says. “I don’t know that any television network would say, ‘Hey, obscure woman. I’m going to pull you out of here and give you your own ship to sail.’ I don’t know what enabled me to see that, but step one was hiring Jo Miller.”
Bee took the same approach to hiring writers, creating a blind application process that didn’t favor people who’d already had success. (It spelled out, for example, how scripts should look when submitted, leveling the playing field for the uninitiated.)
Anyway, the strategy worked. “I have literally filled my office with people who have been underestimated their entire careers. To a person, we almost all fit into that category. It is so joyful to collect a group of people who nobody has ever thought could grasp the reins of something and fucking go for it.”
Rolling Stone notes, somewhat gleefully, that “while The Daily Show’s viewership has dwindled by close to 40 percent since Noah took over, Full Frontal has 3.2 million viewers per episode,” and was just granted 26 more episodes by TBS.
Read the full article here.
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