NBC announces a 'Tonight Show' succession plan, because it worked so well last time

Ultimately, Josh Greenman is right:


But that’s why NBC keeps trying to update its Leno with younger, fresher talent, even though he rules in ratings. First Conan, and then Fallon, are supposed to lead NBC into the future where everything is Hulu’d and Roku’d and YouTubed. Though Leno works on TV, when’s the last time you saw anyone bother to post a bit of his on the web? NBC wants that and Fallon brings it, though less cleverly than Jimmy Kimmel who marries Middle America appeal and Internet love better than either of them. The New York Times:

NBC has settled on two new stars for “The Tonight Show”: Jimmy Fallon and New York City.

The network has made a commitment to Mr. Fallon, the current host of its “Late Night” program, for him to succeed Jay Leno as the next host of “Tonight,” according to several senior television executives involved in the decision. As part of the agreement, the show would move from Burbank, Calif., back to New York, where it started in 1954 with Steve Allen as host.

NBC has not completed a deal with Mr. Fallon yet, but his assent is considered mostly a formality, since the move would represent a significant step up for him. And the network has not settled on an exact timetable for the switch, though it is expected to take place by fall 2014 at the latest, said the executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because discussions were still continuing.

One senior executive who has been involved in the discussions said on Wednesday that “there is no way on earth that this is not going to happen.”

Famous last words. I’m with Ace. Isn’t NBC just setting itself up for another awkward, possibly disastrous, transition of power?

I’ve seen bits of Jimmy Fallon here and there and I’ll concede: He’s an extremely affable guy and can be funny. I don’t see any real problem, per se, with NBC thinking he could be their Tonight Show guy.

Except… Jay Leno is very competitive guy, and even though he’s richer than Croesus and definitely could retire, and maybe wants to retire, I gotta think right now he is plotting a a move to compete with Fallon, just because NBC is being a dick, as usual.

There will be those on Team CoCo who will find it insulting that Fallon is considered a worthy substitute for the famously screwed former redhead of late night, but regardless of what you think of Fallon, it’s not a bad bet that he might find wider appeal. Fallon is the Buzzfeed of late night. He’s goofy, sweet, accessible, and can work the hell out of your nostalgia or a gimmick—preferably both at the same time—to the point where you end up watching even though you know he’s manipulating you, and not even bothering to be clever about it. Please see the “Saved by the Bell” reunion and the “History of Rap,” which is now on its fourth edition. Conan is the Onion AV Club. Clever, heady, literate, with relatively narrow appeal. The demo in modern America wants cats who look like the “Melrose Place” cast, and Fallon will give it to them.

And, I’ll never watch one of their shows live, anyway.

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