by Allison Lips for “Wait!What’s a Dial?”
Anyone who is younger than 35 thinks The Tonight Show is just another boring talk show. NBC needs to update it. The network failed miserably with Conan O’Brien because, while Conan understand his audience, he comes from a generation that still thinks of The Tonight Show as the gold standard. Jimmy would disagree, which will work for and against him.
When it comes to his new gig, Jimmy’s lack of pretentiousness will mean that his presentation will remain unchanged. Some sketches may be dropped and his crew may be able to do more with a bigger budget, but Jimmy will still be his goofy game-playing self. His biggest problem will be the fact that his show relies a lot on going viral. The internet plays a huge part in everything Jimmy does, whether it’s #hashtag or simply promoting the show with short video clips. Jimmy will lose many older viewers, who will be driven to Letterman or will fall asleep an hour earlier, and he may not gain enough younger viewers to make up for that loss. Teenagers and twentysomethings know that you don’t have to bother watching a show when all the good parts will be up on the internet tomorrow.
Unlike Conan’s stint, Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show will probably be Late Night with Jimmy Fallon an hour earlier. He has no reason to change, especially since he’s never had a problem attracting big name guests, but that’s not going to draw viewers away from their laptops and tablets to their TV screens. The Tonight Show name lives on, but it’s no longer special. The show has become little more than a promotion for NBC’s Late Night guys. My bet’s on Jimmy to turn that around.