Wednesday, February 19, 2014
NBC’s strategic move to attract a younger audience will probably payoff to some degree. Watching the final Jay Leno show with Billy Crystal, who’s had as much work done as Joan Rivers, talking about old variety shows from the ‘60s, I could see why NBC made the switch. No one under 50 knew what they were talking about or cared. Compare that to Fallon’s premier where he and Will Smith did a medley of hip hop dances. Garth Brooks vs. U2 as musical guests. The times, they have a changed.
Fallon I’m sure will grow into the job. He’s come a long way since he started his latenight show. And a lot will depend on the quality of his writers. For the moment, when he does his monologue with his hands in his pockets he looks like Ed Sullivan. Has there ever been a stiffer human being in front of a camera than Ed Sullivan?
Of course, in time Jimmy Kimmel will improve too. Dave will just get worse. He’s already phoning it in and has been since the Bush Administration.
Tom Shales, the one TV reviewer I hate more than any other, gave THE TONIGHT SHOW an unqualified rave based on the first night. Among the silly platitudes, he said that Fallon had risen to the pinnacle of television by being named host of THE TONIGHT SHOW.
To me the bigger problem is this: the format itself is tired and musty. It’s another desk, and another backdrop of the city at night, and the couch, and the band, and the goofball announcer, and the monologue, and the celebrity guests just there to hawk their upcoming releases. The host wears a suit, the bandleader is a hipster, the interviews are tepid, and the second half of the show is almost all commercials. Been there, done that... for sixty years.
Then you have Conan and Arsenio doing the same show with different desks on other channels. And THE DAILY SHOW and COLBERT REPORT, which is funnier and fresher than all of them.
Here’s my only real prediction: Jimmy Fallon will not host THE TONIGHT SHOW for the next twenty years. In twenty years there probably won’t be network television and NBC as we know it will exist as something else. THE VIEW will become the pinnacle of television.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM