Monday, February 24, 2014

“Fallon Rocking “Tonight”: NBC Mulls “Changes”

By all accounts Jimmy Fallon’s first week as the Tonight Show Host has gone extremely well. Ratings are above average or better depending on the target market and the reviews have been almost exclusively positive.  Yet, despite the early success, it appears NBC may be up to its old tricks with sources saying that the Network is already “Debating making a change."

It appears the issues creating the mood at the top are numerous… starting with the location. According to a source, NBC execs had no idea that Fallon never intended to move out to LA nor did he intend to utilize Jay Leno’s former studio. Instead Fallon “Spent Millions” fixing up an old storage space along with five closets to create his intimate studio in New York, all without NBC’s knowledge. In a budget document obtained from NBC there is a line item titled “Jimmy’s stuff” that increased from less than $1,000 in 2013 to over $8 million in 2014. It didn’t help that on the opening night with Fallon as the new host, over fifty NBC execs showed up in LA only to find an empty studio with Jay Leno sleeping under his old desk.

While the location has “Been a source of early friction," two other issues have also surfaced.  The first is confusion over who actually hosts The Tonight Show. It seems a number of NBC Executives actually thought Conan O’Brian still held the reigns.  “You mean to tell me I have been watching the wrong network the past three years…and enjoying it?” Complained one Executive. Others at NBC were astounded to learn that Johnny Carson had retired over twenty years ago. Said a source: “With the internet and things like Hulu and YouTube…a lot of these guys just get confused and don’t realize that what they are watching may be from years ago.”

The other main point of contention is that many at NBC can’t keep Jimmy Fallon separate from Jimmy Kimmel...which at one point nearly led to a lawsuit. “One of our Execs saw Kimmel on ABC this past week and just went off. He thought Jimmy had jumped networks. Once we explained to him that Fallon was our guy and not Kimmel he demanded to see his contract as “proof”. It appears that’s when he figured out Jimmy (Fallon) was indeed the host and that he was allowed to stay in New York. It wasn't pretty. "He was so pissed, we had to hire a cleanup/restoration company to fix his office afterwards."

In an informal survey of the top one hundred Executives at NBC the following responses were recorded when asked "Who is the Host of The Tonight Show Featuring Jimmy Fallon?"

           Jay Leno
           Johnny Carson
           David Letterman
           Jimmy Kimmel
           What is The Tonight Show?

When asked who they might get to replace Fallon, the source, who asked to remain anonymous, said “It appears Justin Timberlake is the front runner…as he is on the show every day anyway.”