Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien & Jay Leno – NBC Late Night Dance

NBC the tonight show, late night comedy showNBC used to be the leading network in ratings and in ad sales ala the Sinefeld and Friends years, but the last few have been tougher for the network and their Ad Revenue. They have found success in smaller niche areas like online advertising, “The Office”, Network Evening News with Brian Williams (who is the new Peter Jennings) and Late Night (comedy, variety, talk show) TV.  Jay Leno surpassed David Letterman for the lead in the time slot back in 1995 and has never looked back. Leno decided that in 2009 he will retire from the show after 17 years of tireless service to NBC and late night TV.  And in a suprise move, they named Conan O’Brien the next host of The Tonight Show in 2006. NBC wants to make sure that when this transition happens people keep watching and the ratings stay high. Part of that challenge is finding someone to replace Conan O’Brien.

There have been a lot of names in the hat, but the latest name that is being mentioned today is Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy Fallon was a lot of fun back when he was on Saturday Night Live, but after a few not-very-funny movies he has kind of recedded into the background of comedy with people we haven’t heard from in a long time. I think he would be good based on the Weekend Update segments that SNL had him on with Tina Fey years ago, but I think the success of these shows has more to do with the “regular” comedy segments that they do daily or weekly. I think that many times those can be a bit weird and detract from the overall humor and intelligece of the show.  So, a note to Jimmy Fallon: don’t go too lowball with the comedy segments. Most of us didn’t get Conan the first 5 years because of that. Most of us also don’t think a plastic pooping dog is funny either, and don’t need the crudest humor allowable on Network TV. Suprise (with crudeness) is only one of the elements in why something is funny. Smart, clever identifiyable comedy with callbacks is also pretty good in anyone’s book. (remember improv?) Although, I do like some of what Jimmy Kimmel does too. 

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