Why Jimmy Fallon could be the new Johnny Carson — a uniter not a divider

02.17.14 4 years ago 2 Comments


Why Jimmy Fallon could be the new Johnny Carson — a uniter not a divider
Ever since Johnny Carson exited in 1992, late-night has been divided into two apsect of Carson — Letterman’s cutting detachment and Leno’s befuddled Middle American decency, says Owen Gleiberman. But Fallon could unite those two sides, as Carson once did. “Over the last two decades,” says Gleiberman, “starting with the moment when Jay Leno launched his Attack Of The Nice Guy blandified makeover, ‘The Tonight Show’ has effectively been de-Johnny-fied, and Fallon, who is 24 years younger than Leno (and would be 49 years younger than Carson if Carson were still alive), represents a brand new generation – or maybe I should say a new-brand generation – in the dominance of late night. The amazing freshness of Fallon”s appeal is that he’s looking forward, not back.”

Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers will tape 90 minutes apart to eliminate “sound bleed” between studios
Meyers’ “Late Night” studio will be just above Fallon’s “Tonight Show” studio, and because of the way 30 Rock was built, sounds can bleed from one studio to another. So the solution will be to tape Fallon at 5 pm and Meyers at 6:30.

Can Jimmy Fallon continue masking his terrible interviewing skills with childlike games?
“One of Fallon”s problems is that he seems incapable of carrying on a conversation with a guest that consists of anything more than Fallon fawning all over him (or her),” says Adam Buckman.  As a result, he relies heavily on back-hallway footraces to relieve him of the apparent torture of talking to somebody. The last thing any late-night viewer needs is to be suddenly jolted into full wakefulness by a grown man – Fallon – suddenly breaking into a water balloon war with Tom Cruise.”

Fallon will fill the positivity void in late-night
Jimmy Fallon, says James Poniewozik, represents a “radical departure from recent late-show history. The late-night recipe has been three parts vinegar ever since David Letterman transformed the genre more than 30 years ago… The comedy of crankiness and critique can be hilarious, smart, even passionate (see Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert). But it leaves a market opening for positivity. Fallon–who has made social media more central to his show than anyone but maybe Kimmel–has shown on TV what Facebook taught the online world: the power of the Like.

Can Jimmy Fallon be himself?
That’s the big question, says Tom Shales. “He can do sketches, he can interview celebrities (he’s made progress at curbing his sometimes excessive enthusiasm for fellow performers), he can ad-lib snappy banter with his sidekick-announcer (Steve Higgins) or the show”s brilliantly eclectic house band (The Roots, the only late-night band with a tuba)-but can he pass the ultimate if elementary test for hosting a late-night talk show: can he be ingratiating simply by being himself, and can he be simply himself while hosting a late-night network talk show? Based on his ‘Late Night’ track record, the answer would seem to be a ridiculously obvious yes.”

Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” can thrive with fewer viewers than Conan O’Brien’s “Tonight Show”
That’s because the TV landscape is totally different from when Conan’s “Tonight Show” launched on June 1, 2009. Nowadays, fewer people watch TV live as they turn to DVRs and social media catch-ups the next day.

Michelle Obama and Will Ferrell may do something special together on “The Tonight Show”
“We might do a fun special thing with the first lady and Will Ferrell,” says Fallon, adding that, yes, he and Justin Timberlake have something special planned.

Jimmy Fallon writes an article explaining how his “Tonight Show” will be different: “Not much”
“It’s coming to New York,” says Fallon. “That’s the biggest change and you”re going to feel that. It will be noticeable. This is where I’m from, this is where I live and I relate to New Yorkers.”

Fallon’s “Thank You Notes” segment will air every Friday
Jimmy also confirms he’s keeping the hashtag game.

Johnny Carson moving “Tonight” out of NYC was catastrophic, Fallon bringing it back is a huge win
“Carson’s departure for Los Angeles was worse than deflating,” explains Verne Gay. “It was catastrophic. The barbarians had scaled the gates. The philistines had triumphed. That’s right: Hollywood had won. This represented the final cruel conquest of West Coast culture over East. As a final insult, ‘Tonight’ didn’t even go to Hollywood, but to Burbank.”

Fallon is inheriting a “Tonight Show” that is a shadow of its former self
Late-night viewership has been eroding for years. Can Fallon fight for survival?

NBC’s former late-night boss has worked with all 6 “Tonight Show” hosts
Rick Ludwin worked at NBC for 30 years, until 2012, producing specials for Steve Allen and Jack Paar, while also serving as the liaison for Carson, Leno, Conan and Fallon.

Watch Jimmy Fallon’s all-time most hilarious moments
From Debbie Downer to “Joking Bad.” PLUS: Fallon’s silliest moments, and there will be a new Brian Williams rap mashup.

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