Jimmy Fallon will kick off his (hopefully long) tenure as host of The Tonight Show on Monday, and this time around, the late night “wars” can be best described as friendly, but competitive. What’s not so friendly is a piece that Time magazine is running this week calling Jimmy Fallon an enemy of the state of California, a man with whom they should declare war. Why? Because Fallon has moved The Tonight Show from Burbank California to New York City, robbing “California of its biggest stage for statewide communication.”
As Joe Matthews writes:
This was personal—Leno and his wife are reliable supporters of local charities—but also part of the show. Presidents and other national politicians, on their frequent California fundraising trips, routinely ignored local journalists and rarely held town halls with citizens. But they sat down with Leno, who was often the only Californian who got to question these powerful visitors in a public forum.
He consistently put California newsmakers on the air, and got them to say things that were picked up by other media. Leno’s regular bit, “Jaywalking,” in which he asked people on our streets basic questions about government, was a devastating critique of the state of civics education in California. It also raised the question, still unanswered, of why we trust these citizens to provide final verdicts, via ballot measures, on so many complicated questions.
Somehow, I think that California will survive.
Here’s some other interesting tidbits about the late-night “wars.”
1. Over on MTV, someone who saw a test run of Fallon’s The Tonight Show spills on the details, of which there are few. What’s changed? The set, which is made largely of wood now. What hasn’t changed? Most everything else. Expect the same Fallon show, simply on a bigger, more wooden set.
2. Fallon’s The Tonight Show has introduced its app, if you’re into that kind of thing.
3. Fallon’s first week of guests include Michelle Obama, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Jerry Seinfeld, Kristen Wiig, Bradley Cooper, Will Ferrell and Arcade Fire.
4. The other shows aren’t going down without offering up some competition. Kimmel is offering as guests Bill O’Reilly, Matthew McConaughey, the cast of Duck Dynasty and Kit Harington. Letterman is going with Donald Trump, Pauley Perrette (NCIS), Olympic gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, and on Monday night he has Kevin Spacey, Amber Heard and a top ten list presented by the cast of How I Met Your Mother. (THR)
5. Meanwhile, last week, The Tonight Show had its best ratings since 1993 (the week Cheers went off the air), while Fallon’s last week on Late Night had its best overall ratings week ever for Fallon, and the best week on Late Night since Johnny Carson’s last week on The Tonight Show.
6. In a very lengthy piece by longtime late-night writer Bill Carter in The New York Times, Fallon confessed that he believes his biggest competition is not Letterman, but Kimmel. “It’s a friendly rivalry, it really is,” Fallon said. “I needed someone to compete against me, to make me want to be sharper. Jimmy makes me want to be better.”
7. Finally, Hollyscoop dug up some old photos of Jimmy Fallon from back when he used to model for Calvin Klein, and they are hilarious.