Poor NBC: forever on the hunt for the young demographic. It's sad to watch. They've had a lock on late night for decades now, and they keep throwing it away. We watched them do it with Conan, and now here comes Jimmy. Why does this happen? It's called 30 Rock. Not the show, it's the building. It's where the programming execs work, and just happens to be the same location as SNL, and Conan & Fallon's 'Late Night' shows. Burbank is 3000 miles & 3 time-zones away. Every year a new crop of New York twenty-somethings arrives at 30 Rock, and with Lorne Michaels and the SNL kiddies along for backup, the pressure on management to "younger-ize" is irresistible. This time they've also had the Fallon crew pushing as well. The only reason outlander Leno wasn't forced out earlier is the incredible blowback it would have created.
What NBC and these programming novices don't understand, is that at the end of the day, we don't want to watch the antics of a young frenetic squirrel. Most of us see enough of that during the day. Fallon's (and Conan's) humor comes off as demeaning and biting. Jumping through outlandish skits, letting the ego-maniacal host bomb the musical guest, or sucking up hard on celebrities is the stuff of PRIMETIME. At the end of the day, we don't want to party. We want a slower, older, wiser and more stable person delivering our entertainment. We want a TALK show. We want Daddy. On the other hand, the late, late night spot works well as a destination for always energized & rebellious teens & college kids, but most of us have gone to bed by then.
Sure, we could see Leno's punchlines coming a mile away, but there was some comfort in that. He wasn't my all-time favorite, but he was honest, real, and down to earth. And he wasn't obsessed with having or giving the last laugh. The same thing could have been said about Johnny Carson. One thing is sure, Leno won't be coming back. Letterman has become just a cranky, snide old man. Kimmel is so obsessed with his backpack of ethnic & family shtick, it's too annoying to watch. Someone like Brian Williams would knock them all dead.
Thank you, NBC, for ending my decades-long addiction to late night TV. As painful as watching Conan was, at least I would check to see who was on that night. With Jimmy, I don't even care. Yes, he has a very talented staff, and his skits can be very funny, but that was true of Conan. Jimmy's energy belongs in primetime. You won't catch me staying up to watch him. Or the now unfunny SNL either.
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