busytonight 11f08

“Busy Tonight’s” Cancelation Proves How Tough It Is For Women In Late Night

by Emma Davey


Unfortunately, E! has canceled Busy Philipps’ late night show Busy Tonight, with its last episode airing May 16th. Busy revealed the news on her Twitter this Monday, saying:

Busy Tonight is not the only female fronted talk show to recently get the axe. According to The Daily Beast, Busy Tonight is at least the fourth female-fronted late-night series to be axed over the past year, following the cancellations of The Rundown with Robin Thede on BET, The Break with Michelle Wolf on Netflix and most recently Sarah Silverman’s I Love You, America on Hulu.” Like Busy Tonight, none of these shows lasted a particularly long time. 

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is now the only late night show currently hosted by a woman, until YouTuber Lilly Singh’s show takes over a time slot previously held by Carson Daly (and in the process, as Vulture writes, “be the first queer woman of color to ever host a network late-night show and the first woman to host a network late-night show since Joan Rivers.”) However, with Busy Philipps’ case, it still feels disappointing that women are not allowed the time to build an audience like their male counterparts.

The late night market is oversaturated with men, specifically white men. Why do we have three hosts who are named James? Why do we still let Bill Maher do his whole “both sides” “I’m too cool to care because I’m a rich white dude, and I’m faring ok” shtick (complete with his ongoing Islamophobia and sexism and racism)? HBO already has John Oliver, who stays in his lane and delivers thoughtful news once a week. They don’t need two!

Busy’s staff was, according to her Instastory, about 89% female. That’s huge. Her show felt inclusive and warm and positive, complete with cocktails and nightgowns. While the show won’t be on E! anymore, there’s still the possibility that another network or streaming service could pick it up. Whatever happens, we’re sending our best to Busy!

Photo credit: still from Busy Tonight (E!)

More from BUST

Busy Philipps Is BUST’s October/November 2018 Cover Gal!

Michelle Wolf Tells Us Why She Hates Trump Jokes

Robin Thede’s Late-Night Show “The Rundown” Is Must-See TV: BUST Interview




You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.