The landscape of late night television has changed immeasurably now that Jimmy Fallon is the host of The Tonight Show. David Letterman has become the old, old guard, and Fallon hopes to delight his audience with such 1980′s staples as U2 and Kid ‘n Play. The critique of Jay Leno was that he appealed to old people. Going by Fallon’s first episode, Fallon is definitely going for people in their middle ages, it’s just now that rap is over thirty five years old, the people who are middle aged have changed.
And it was a safe but charming episode. The premiere debuted to a little over 11 Million viewers (11.3 to be precise) and was likely DVR’d by many willing to give the former Saturday Night Live star a chance behind the big desk. Or perhaps knowing that Fallon would come out swinging meant many viewers would give it a once-over, just as Jimmy Kimmel is looking to steal some spotlight back by premiering the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy tonight. Here’s Fallon’s big “look who I can get to show up for my first episode” cameo extravaganza:
And here’s Fallon doing some dancing with Will Smith:
The most impressive thing about the latter is that it was done with no cuts and live. That’s some impressive choreography, even if you can see the seams. The big question with late night is if it’s like newspapers in general in that there’s now generations who were never raised on it (in this case because there were more than five channels to watch at night), and will never return or understand the appeal. There will always be a need for talk shows, but there will likely never be a great moment that is watched live, so much as bits like the ones above, that may go viral, but don’t necessarily lead to people tuning in night after night. We shall see.
Did you watch Fallon last night?