Don Kaplan of the New York Daily News is reporting that Jimmy Fallon could replace Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.
This is based on the following: Leno’s contract expires in 2014 and Kaplan reports that “various talent agents” have said that NBC officials have contacted them about options for “a new late-late host who will eventually take over Fallon’s 12:35 a.m. time slot.”
Fallon, of course, is the host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which appears immediately after Leno is doing his anti-Charlie Rose thing on The Tonight Show.
The move makes sense. Fallon should be cheaper than Leno–who after a 50 percent pay cut is still making $15 million a year–and his aw-shucks, self-effacing personality is a terrific fit. The other thing, too, is demographics. Fallon’s celebrity stunts (rapping with Justin Timberlake, performing “All I Want for Christmas” with Mariah Carey and The Roots) are very popular with folks (read: 18 to 49 year olds) who don’t have fond memories of Chad Everett or Michael Landon.
Those skits frequently find their way onto Facebook and Twitter feeds. Can anyone say the same thing about Leno?
Two other questions remain:
1.) If Fallon gets the gig what happens to The Roots, his Philly-based house band? They’re a big reason behind the show’s “it’s 12:30 and things are kinda wild” vibe. Are these guys going to move to LA? Just getting Questlove over will cost a fortune.
2.) Given how graciously Leno handled Conan O’Brien taking his spot in 2009, who’s to say Leno will leave without incident this time around?
I have a sinking feeling this will end like the last 20 minutes of “The Professional.”