This morning a tease of a Page Six article: NBC worried Jimmy Fallon’s boozing got ‘out of control’ grabbed my attention. I love Jimmy Fallon and some nights fight to stay awake just to see him so I can go to sleep giggling. Thankfully it linked straight to the article so I could skip the main page headline and picture of Kim Kardashian. GAG!
Since the late night guards changed a few years ago from Leno and Letterman to Kimmel, Fallon and Colbert, the show content has, not surprisingly, changed as well.
Gone are the Johnny Carson days with his, boisterously laughing from the sidelines, sidekick Ed McMahan, and his orchestra, led by Doc Severinsen. The bygone “Mad Men” era of weeknight cocktail parties when people stayed up to watch the 11:00 news and couldn’t wait to see who Johnny’s guests would be each night! It was accepted and even slyly joked that his coffee cup, and those of his guests, held things other than coffee while they:
- Talked about movies
- Tame news topics
- The host or a guest up and coming comedian made jokes
- The guest might sing a song to the accompaniment of the orchestra
- The host did skits that were aimed at a generation of adults that thought, Carnac the Magnificent, dropping pumpkins from the tops of buildings, or a man with a sledgehammer smashing watermelons was entertainment
Now ratings are the king.
Generation X and Millennials aren’t likely to tune into late night shows to see a host drone on about politics, to hear a celebrity talk about their latest movie, or, God forbid, reality show. They will tune in to watch Jimmy Fallon drink poop.
Jimmy Fallon has been very good for NBC. His admittedly drunken, or maybe just heavily buzzed (but kids, as the commercials say: Buzzed driving IS drunk driving!), exploits on the air brought in viewers they had, lost in the post Carson, Jay Leno years to CBS when David Letterman cut into their late night dominance.
Fallon has a freshness, he’s funny, witty, creative, can carry a tune, he is Gen X, and has a huge network of Gen X and Millennial friends, which is the demographic NBC needed to grab.
While viewers obviously don’t want to see Fallon injure himself, get divorced or get fired, they do tune in to see him:
- Perform duets with Justin Timberlake and other singers
- Drink Poop Water with Bill Gates
- Do Lip-Sync battles with the stars
- Play Flip-Cup with Margot Robbie
- Make and drink fancy martinis with Fergie
- Host Celebrity Drinko (They all want to play)
For what it’s worth, the Page Six article does include a quote from NBC downplaying and denying any suggest that they are upset or questioning the host of the Number 1 rated late night show: “Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, told us, “Jimmy is one of NBC’s biggest assets, and we’re extremely proud that ‘The Tonight Show’ continues to be the late-night leader in all metrics, including ratings and social-media awareness. He’s in a class by himself, and we’re also looking forward to him hosting the Golden Globes in January. As a producer and star he delivers over 200 hours of television a year, and any suggestion that we have concerns about his behavior or have given him any kind of ‘warning’ is completely false.”
NBC can make sure he’s safe on the set and can insist he use a driver on their time to and from the studio, etc. From what the article on Page Six says, it appears he is taking the steps to make sure he stays in control during the rest of the time. As long as all parties are safe, I say to those commenting from the peanut gallery, “Stop.” Hmmm
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