diversity blues

Samantha Bee’s One Funny Trick for Getting More Viewers

Samantha Bee.
Samantha Bee. Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Samantha Bee’s show, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, has taken off. A new Rolling Stone profile of the host and comedian (in which Bee reveals she once had a high-school boyfriend nearly break her hand to get out of her exams) says 3.2 million people are watching each episode. It’s been renewed for 26 more episodes into 2017, and unlike The Daily Show, whose viewership has been down 40 percent, it seems Bee has figured out the secret sauce. What could possibly be responsible for Bee’s growing viewership?

In Rebecca Traister’s New York Magazine profile of Bee from January, she remarks on the show’s hiring process, which is pretty much unique within the industry:

Bee and [Jo] Miller have worked hard to create a diverse production staff, carefully crafting a blind application process to make it more accessible to people who have not traditionally spent any time in writers’ rooms. The result is a writing staff that is 50 percent female and 30 percent nonwhite. It’s a mix of experience levels as well; there is one writer who was previously at Letterman and another whose last job was at the Maryland DMV. “If we don’t do anything else right, we hired incredible people across the board,” says Bee. “Our hiring process was great.”

It looks like maybe having a diverse writer’s room pulls in a larger and more diverse audience! 

Samantha Bee’s High Viewership Is Not Surprising