Apparently, she had expressed an interest in the position.
“I was interested in the Ferguson spot long before it was announced because I had a feeling things might shift,” Griffin told the AP. “My joke phrase is, ‘I can start Monday.’”
In response, she said one unnamed executive told her, “They’re not considering females at this time.” Something she reminded the person was somewhat illegal to say. At least another executive had the good sense to describe their gender bias to Griffin as “embarrassing.”
There’s several cogent reasons why right now is a good time to reflect on gender bias for late night hosts:
1.) The last two years have seen the rare occurrence of several late night hosts being replaced, each a chance to hire a woman that wasn’t taken.
2.) In August, the only female late night host we had, Chelsea Handler, ended her E! show. She has not only left the late night space, she has left television altogether, opting to continue a talk show on streaming TV service Netflix.
3.) Last week, we lost the only woman to host a major network late night show with the death of Joan Rivers. Even more striking is Rivers hosted that show on Fox nearly 30 years ago and not one other woman has hosted a major network late night talker since.
To be fair, not so long ago Kathy Griffin hosted a talk show on Bravo once a week. But, “Kathy” wasn’t actually a late night show until its low ratings resulted in the network moving the show to a later 11:30 timeslot. It was canceled after its second season. “Kathy” averaged 417,167 viewers and 231,583 viewers in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demo.
Despite that, she has the chops for a late night gig. She has won two Emmy Awards for Bravo’s “Kathy Griffin” My Life on the D-List”) and a Grammy Award for best comedy album for “Calm Down Gurrl”. And, she has proven over the years — both on TV and in her stand-up acts — that she’s especially talented in addressing the day’s pop culture and celebrity trends.
All considered, Griffin remains both hopeful and realistic when it comes to her chances for a late night show.
“I walk into the (meeting) room thinking, ‘I’ll give it a shot.’ I leave the room thinking, ‘I never had a chance,’” she said.