The future of “The Tonight Show” does seem to be set in stone; after “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” ends, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” is going to begin. This allows for an opportunity for NBC to try to keep themselves somewhat young and ahead of the curve … but it is also a ratings risk. Will longtime Leno fans really take to Jimmy an hour earlier?
It may sound strange, but if there is one network that seems somewhat qualified to talk about Leno’s success on NBC, it is Fox News. Despite a lot of criticism, the news channel, like Leno, continues to be #1 in the ratings, and chooses to just continue to appeal to the people that already watch rather than trying to focus on pleasing the people who don’t watch. Who knows? Maybe it is this kind of synergy that has Greta Van Susteren encouraging Jay to transition over to Fox’s broadcast network after “The Tonight Show” comes to a close.
While Susteren said in her blog that Fox should hire Jay on February 7, exactly one day after his time on “The Tonight Show” officially comes to a close, she also made it clear that she has no formal say in anything that happens on a network that she really has no affiliation to outside of their parent company.
We know that NBC is far more interested in keeping Leno around as some sort of occasional comic, appearing in various specials, but will that really satisfy Jay? There is also the issue of Fox affiliates wanting to keep their syndicated programs on the air rather than Leno, who would probably have a late-night show that aired at around 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. depending on what affiliates wanted to do.
In the end, all of this is really why we see such a move being unlikely for all parties involved. But who knows? There will probably be some more talk about it in the months ahead, which is why we’ll continue to monitor the story.