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Jimmy Fallon on 'The Tonight Show': Three things we want to see, and one we don't
"Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” is one of the most popular late-night programs, and although it's always seemed likely that the affable host would move on to “The Tonight Show” one day, some are speculating that his time could come as soon as next year.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC is planning to announce in May that Fallon, a former Saugerties resident, will take over “The Tonight Show” from current host Jay Leno next year. Although Leno, a New Rochelle native, is probably not very happy about the rumored plan, especially considering he just got back “Tonight” from Conan O’Brien in 2010, we think Fallon would be a great fit.
But if Fallon does take over the late-night institution, he shouldn't abandon the elements that make his current show must-see TV. Here are three things Fallon should take with him if he moves to “The Tonight Show” -- and one thing he should leave behind.
1. Guest stunts. When A-listers appear on his talk show, Fallon doesn’t just ask his guests for a few funny anecdotes and then have them plug their latest project. He involves them in all kinds of inspired lunacy, from the cast of “30 Rock” playing charades and water fights with Tom Cruise to “mom” dancing with Michelle Obama. It’s what makes “Late Night” compulsively watchable and would work on “The Tonight Show,” too.
2. Top-notch musical guests. Fallon’s show has attracted some of the biggest acts in music, ranging from legends like Prince and Bruce Springsteen to critical faves such as Frank Ocean and Grizzly Bear. A move to 11:35 p.m. shouldn’t mean booking only mainstream pop acts to appeal to a broader audience because a lot of fans tune into Fallon’s show to be introduced to the kind of music they won’t see elsewhere.
(And of course there’s his signature music performances, such as “History of Rap” with Justin Timberlake and the “Whip My Hair” duet with Springsteen -- but we can’t imagine Fallon will ever stop producing those, especially considering he just won a Grammy Award for "Blow Your Pants Off," a compliation of his musical moments from the show.)
3. Friendliness with other talk-show hosts. The late-night talk show wars have left Jay Leno and David Letterman, a North Salem resident, embittered foes. Which is why it’s a breath of fresh air that Fallon is so friendly with his current time-slot competitor Craig Ferguson, who hosts CBS’ “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” The two have waved to each other and exchanged Christmas gifts on-air, demonstrating that talk show rivals don’t have to be actual rivals.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC wants to move Fallon to “The Tonight Show” to take on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The Kimmel show moved to 11:35 p.m. in January and has been doing well in the ratings, even beating out Letterman on occasion. Because both shows appeal to the same younger demographic, we hope that despite the competition for viewers, Fallon and Kimmel can share some laughs together, and even become pals.
And the one thing that Fallon should leave behind if he makes the jump is (and yes, it's a controversial choice) . . . the monologue.
Simply put, the monologue is the least funny part of his show. And no one tunes in to “Late Night” to watch Fallon stumble through jokes about current events; viewers tune in to see him write “Thank You Notes” or “Slow Jam the News.” So why not just cut to the chase and start out with what the audience wants to see? It’d be an audacious move and a way to revolutionize the decades-old “Tonight Show.”
Do you want to see Fallon take over “The Tonight Show” from Jay Leno next year? Vote in our poll or let us know in the comments.
Should Jimmy Fallon take over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno next year?