As rumored and conjectured, Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers will indeed take over Late Night after Jimmy Fallon moves to The Tonight Show. The news was confirmed this weekend by NBC and Meyers, who told the New York Times "Working at 'SNL' requires 100 percent of your mental capacity — on easy weeks. And so I had not really spent a lot of time thinking about what I was going to do next. Obviously I can't quit Lorne [Michaels]. So this seems like a pretty good deal that I have an opportunity to keep working with him." According to Lorne — who'll now be executive producing Late Night and Tonight (plus, of course, SNL — the NBC after-hours trifecta) — the decision to hire Meyers came with "complete agreement [at NBC] the only name that kept coming up was Seth."
Last week, we here at Grantland spent an afternoon playing a guessing game. With Jimmy Fallon now confirmed to take over Jay Leno's spot on The Tonight Show, who'd be in line to take Fallon's spot on Late Night? An early consensus had formed around Seth Meyers, but history has taught us to expect the unexpected here (remember, they hired a Simpsons writer in 1993), and so a couple of other ideas were batted around. Leading things off was Bill Simmons picking Alec Baldwin.
By now we all know that Jimmy Fallon is taking the Tonight Show to New York, and that Jay Leno, at least temporarily without a desk to call home, is facing down the prospect of spending more quality time organizing his airplane hangar full of antique steam cars and pressed denim shirts. But NBC's sudden re-reshuffling of its talk-show roster has, however momentarily, left a void at the 12:35 a.m. time slot. Yes, there have been rumors that the gig is "Weekend Update"'s Seth Meyers's to lose, but rumors are just that until a contract materializes, so the Grantland staff has taken it upon itself to give NBC a little much-needed assistance in choosing its Fallon replacement.
Bill Simmons: I’m rooting for a show called “The White Man’s Perspective With Doug Gottlieb,” but the odds aren’t looking great right now. OK, so what does NBC do? Everyone is already making Seth Meyers the 12:30 favorite while forgetting the following rules of 12:30: Don’t pick someone who might be better at hosting a late-night show than your 11:30 guy (and Seth might be better); don’t pick someone who would potentially threaten your 11:30 guy (and Seth might); don’t pick someone who overlaps with your 11:30 guy (and Seth comes from the Lorne Michaels/SNL machine, has many of the same talent/celebrity connections, and trusts all of the same people); don’t pick someone who’s the same age as your 11:30 guy (and Seth is one year older than Jimmy); and for a second time, DON’T PICK SOMEONE FOR 12:30 WHO MIGHT BE BETTER THAN YOUR 11:30 GUY. Because that could potentially be awkward.
Important note: I’m a big Seth fan (he’s a pantheon B.S. Report guest) and believe he’s destined to have a very good late-night show for someone. But this looks too easy to me. See, the consensus favorite never gets the 12:30 gig — history says they always go outside the box with someone who makes you say, “WTF????” Which is why I’m stealing an idea from my friend Connor Schell (someone who’s stolen plenty of ideas from me over the years, so I don’t feel bad) and submitting the following choice: Alec Baldwin.
Roger Ebert, Pulitzer Prize winner and national treasure, is taking a "leave of presence" by cutting back on his workload as he faces cancer treatments again. He will continue to write selected reviews as well as essays addressing his illness. "It really stinks that the cancer has returned," he writes, "and that I have spent too many days in the hospital. So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness." This is heartbreaking news. Get well soon, you old fart. Love, your fanboys.
Considering the latest we'd heard about the battle for The Tonight Show succession was Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon laughing off the whole thing via a West Side Story parody, you'd have been OK in assuming that the actual, real-deal details of the struggle wouldn't be hashed out for a while. And then, last night, The Hollywood Reporter goes ahead and reports Fallon has already closed his contract to take over Leno's seat. Huh. That was fast.
With the brouhaha over Tonight Show succession still brewing, Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon got together last night — in that little no-man's-land transition area between their respective shows — to squash it musically. Jacking the beat from Bernstein and Sondheim's aptly classic West Side Story joint "Tonight," the two weave a tale of mutual non-competitiveness and everlasting friendship that's some parts "kiiiinda funny" and some parts "just kind of a thing that happened that you'll remember in a few years and be like, 'Oh yeah, that was weird.'" And somewhere, a giant redhead is rolling his eyes.
Right now, the conversation about The Tonight Show’s succession plans seems to be taking Jimmy Fallon's takeover as a sure thing: Most of the talk is about when, not if, Jimmy takes Leno's seat and brings it back to dirty, sweaty, pretzel-ridden New York City. And while Jay and Jimmy make fun of NBC about the whole thing, the analysts weigh in about why it's happening (younger audiences! tax breaks!) But in all that hullabaloo, we've lost sight on one very important thing: Who's gonna host Late Night, a.k.a. the one NBC talk show that's actually been consistently watchable and sometimes pretty damn great over the last 20 years?
When the usually soft Jay Leno starts hitting his network bosses hard, it's clear that change — like winter in Westeros — is coming to the late-night landscape. Today, Bill Carter — the indefatigable biographer of the chattering chat-show class — reports that NBC is once again attempting to formalize the right of Tonight Show succession. (Especially since it worked so well the last time, not to mention the time before.) Carter is reporting that Jimmy Fallon will ascend to the big chair in 2014 when Leno's latest contract ends, and that the show will move to New York. (THR says NBC's debating whether to launch Fallon during February's Winter Olympics or give him more time for the transition.) With the ink barely dry and the other shoes yet to drop (do we really think devoted stand-up Leno will take this latest insult sitting down?), here are three instant reactions to NBC's latest attempt not to shoot itself in the foot.
Earlier this week, word got out that NBC was preparing for a succession plan that would move Jay Leno out of The Tonight Show (uh, once again) and replace him with Jimmy Fallon. The question, then — well, one of the questions, once all the "Do we have the strength as a culture to go through another Late-Night War?" feelings were expressed — becomes who would replace Fallon on Late Night? Linda Stasi at the New York Post says NBC is thinking Howard Stern.
Stern stepped in as a judge on NBC's America's Got Talent last summer, to much fanfare, and according to the Post, it's all part of a strategy to make Stern palatable to TV viewers, in preparation for a move to something like Late Night.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. They're baaaack. In space, nobody can hear Conan O'Brien scream. Pick any horror movie tagline, really. The point is that, according to the Hollywood Reporter, NBC is once again looking to shore up its late-night future by making plans to ease Jay Leno out the door and install Jimmy Fallon as his 11:35 p.m. replacement by summer 2014.
"If Odd Future does blow up, this appearance will be mentioned (“the first time that a national ... ” blah blah blah) in every bio of the band forever." - Amos Barshad, 2/17/11
Amos is an oracle.
It's a performance that, some two years later, is still culturally relevant. The Odd Future collective's first nationally televised performance, "Sandwitches" by Tyler, The Creator and Hodgy Beats, backed by the Roots, on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
As the New York Times reports, Hurricane Sandy — the so-called Frankenstorm — wreaked havoc on the mid-Atlantic region last night: "Power remained out for roughly six million people, including a large swath of Manhattan ... Bridges remained closed, and seven subway tunnels under the East River were flooded ... A wind-tossed construction crane atop one of the tallest buildings in New York City still dangled 80 stories over West 57th Street, across the street from Carnegie Hall, after coming loose during the storm. The storm was the most destructive in the 108-year history of New York’s subway system." And, tragically, "at least 11 deaths — including 7 in the New York region — were tied to the storm."
Amid that looming threat, you would have understood if Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and Late Show With David Letterman, the two New York–based network late-night shows, had decided to cancel programming for the evening. (In fact, Jimmy Kimmel Live, which had transplanted itself from L.A. to Brooklyn this week, was forced to cancel, as did The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.) But Fallon and Letterman opted to stick it out, both playing to theaters eerily empty of live audiences, and both providing, in their own particular ways, some small, peculiar comforts.
Late night — as David Letterman, Conan O’Brien’s agent, and not Chevy Chase could tell you — is a long game. More than any other time slot, the witching hour is a place where relationships are forged gradually. After all, you’re not going to let just any white man in a suit see you in those jammies! The only successful changes in the late-night landscape have occurred glacially: Leno slowly oozing his way into Johnny’s chair, for example, or Jon Stewart’s long metamorphosis from niche programming to mainstream mainstay. After NBC’s great Tonight Show debacle of 2010 — a host handoff that was five years in the making and six months in the undoing — things have been relatively quiet on the after-hours battlefield, with the established hosts seemingly content to divvy up slices of an increasingly shrinking viewership pie.