NBC is ready to launch a new dose of late night drama. Executives at NBC today will announce that Jay Leno will not have his contract renewed in 2014. Instead, Jimmy Fallon will be renewed as the network feels he will hold up better, in the long run, against ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel.
Jay Leno is not taking all of this well, as he has quipped that NBC executives are the very snakes Saint Patrick drove out of Ireland. Several executives at NBC emailed Jay warning the late-night funny man to tone it down, but to Jay it is all sweet chin music and his last hoo-rah before being ousted from the network.
Some insiders have speculated that Fox may offer Leno his own show, but odds are he would not take it. Jay’s draw seems to be the Tonight Show brand which he helped maintain. When Leno tried to veer off into a nightly 30 minute program of jokes and gags, it quickly tanked and NBC immediately restored his name to the Tonight Show.
Jimmy Fallon’s draw for the time slot will likely see a shift in vierwership. Older viewers are expected to switch to David Letterman, who NBC analysts predict will retire in two or three years. It’s a well known Hollywood fact that Leno and Letterman have been rivals, as Letterman ousted himself from NBC when he did not ascend from the 11:35pm time slot to replace a retiring Johnny Carson. In anger at Leno’s behing hired, Letterman went to CBS to build his Worldwide Pants empire.
Fallon’s show format will likely remain the same, featuring his band “The Roots” who most audiences will find to be entertaining and talented. Fallon’s skits are usually funny, in a SNL sense. Fallon wins where SNL fails though due to time constraints. None of his skits go on-and-on, where the audience becomes the mindset “Okay, I get it and really, it’s not that funny”. Fallon’s speaking mannerisms may also start to bother audiences.
When Fallon gets excited, he speaks like a gymnast: fast-paced, munchkin voiced and he sort of runs all his words together, without enunciating. On mainstream timeslot with a nation full of people wanting to relax or get a mild laugh involved, that trait could turn viewers away. Or maybe some will find it endearing?
Fallon’s switch at NBC will likely be set to coincide with NBC’s exclusive Winter Olympic coverage, giving the host free advertising and viewers.