Column by Olivia O’Hea
O’Hea is a first-year law, politics and society and journalism double major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The year 2010 called — it wants its late night drama back. Jay Leno, host of NBC’s “Tonight Show,” may finally yield the late night throne after a 21-year reign. E! Online reports that Jimmy Fallon, current host of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” on NBC, may succeed Leno as “The Tonight Show” host in 2014.
While NBC initially denied the rumor two “high-level executives” allegedly leaked the information to the media.
This isn’t Leno’s first time on the chopping block. Conan O’Brien briefly replaced him in 2010. However, due to low rating the network negated its contract and offered Leno the 11:30 p.m. EST slot, pushing O’Brien back to 12:05 a.m. O’Brien left the network causing many notable stars to speak out in support of Team Coco (Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell and Jon Stewart to name a few).
I think the replacement of Jay Leno is long overdue. Despite his high ratings, he is nowhere near as likable as some of his late night peers (Fallon, Kimmel and O’Brien). As an avid television viewer, I personally find most of Leno’s pieces out of date. I believe Fallon’s material would better appeal to those watching late night television (young adults), and his background in stand up and improvisation make his shows interactive and fun for the studio audience and viewers at home.
When surfing channels late at night I like to watch shows where I feel like the host is someone I would enjoy hanging out with. Here lies the main difference between Leno and Fallon. While Leno does witty sketches and bits, he is stuffy on his own. He relies on the power of his guests (big names like Hugh Jackman) rather than his own material. An easy habit to get into, I’m sure, when you’ve held the same position for 21 years.
I don’t think this change could come at a better time for NBC — a notoriously-failing network. With the end of “The Office” and “30 Rock” and disappointing premieres like “Whitney,” they need to liven up the lineup. Leno is a funny host, but Fallon is a funny person — making him the ideal successor for “The Tonight Show.”