For its first bit of promotion for its launch on February 17, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” is looking back at everything that came before it. When you have a franchise that has been around for an incredible 60 years, we suppose that you really have the capacity to do something like this.
What is somewhat interesting in looking back at the history of the franchise is that while we generally tend to associate this show with a bunch of hosts staying for a long period of time, only two in Jay Leno and Johnny Carson really have gone the distance. The main selling point here is that for over 80% of the show’s history, one of the two of them has been the host. Jack Paar, Conan O’Brien, and Steve Allen combined do not even make a full decade.
It is a nice little touch for NBC to at least acknowledge that O’Brien hosted the show at all in the promo, given that this is the only bit of hosting drama that is so recent that the vast majority of Americans today are going to remember it. The goal for the network here has to be that they do not find a way to mess this up in the same way that they did then, which was really a combination of terrible lead-ins, Jay Leno still taking the good guests, and Conan’s brand of humor not being perfectly suited for the mainstream crowd.
Can Jimmy be the guy to keep NBC at #1? The reason that we have hope is that he will bring the spontaneity back to the franchise in a way that Leno does not. Jay’s talent is consistent, while Fallon is a host for the internet age. He has potential to get people talking, while with Jay, the feeling was that he had already hit his ceiling.
We’re going to have more on Fallon and the “Tonight Show” takeover soon, so be sure to sty tuned for more of that. Also, click here if you want to keep up-to-date on everything we post here at CarterMatt with our official TV newsletter.