It never feels good to be replaced. Dean Cain had his cape all ready to go for Man of Steel; he just needed a quick shave in a phone booth and to fly back in time to film the role. Gene Wilder was not so game, recently going on the record to air his displeasure about the Willy Wonka remake, calling it "an insult" and heaping bitter dark chocolate over Tim Burton ("I don't care for that director") "going back and doing it all over again." SOURBALLS.
Last night, Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons returned to Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he chatted about his unlikely friendship with NBA Countdown co-host Magic Johnson, Magic's idiosyncrasies, and how he tricked his daughter into hating Kobe Bryant, who hates golden retrievers.
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.
Tracy Morgan joins Cousin Sal and Bill Simmons to describe his alter ego, Chico Divine, and what he can remember from the time he was naked in Jimmy Kimmel’s green room. He also chats about the time he was kicked out of Prince’s house, his Saturday Night Live audition, and his favorite memory from 30 Rock. Plus! His new TV project and much, much more.
For 10 years now, Jimmy Kimmel (a Friend of Grantland) has been signing off with a dismissive nod to a certain A-lister: "Our apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time." This endless, ruthless bumping of Mr. Jason Bourne has led the two down some peculiar roads over the years: There was Kimmel's ex Sarah Silverman shtupping Damon, and admitting as much in a gorgeous musical medley; there was Kimmel shtupping Ben Affleck right back. And, despite all that pain and damage the rivalry had wrought, on it went: Matt Damon, an American treasure if ever there was one, bumped from the show, over and over again. Last night, after all those years of mental anguish and scorn, Damon sought his revenge. Sensibly, he duct-taped Kimmel to a chair, stuffed a tie in his mouth, then did Kimmel's show instead. Oh, what a sight it was! Filled with celebrity friends — from Robin Williams to Andy Garcia, Sheryl Crow to Benny Affleck — and secret audition footage and jokes about Siri and the joyous glee of a man enjoying a whole elaborate Count of Monte Cristo thing. Now this is how you exact years-in-the-making revenge. Matt Damon, you're an inspiration to us all.
Jimmy Kimmel talks about a night at the White House in which Michelle Obama yelled at his son, Cousin Sal pushed his agent into the Rose Garden, and other antics went down all under the watch of Secret Service men holding machine guns.
Jimmy Kimmel explains to Bill Simmons that even with 15 or 20 classic cars in his garage, Adam Carolla asked to borrow Jimmy's son's Mini Cooper because his Aston Martin was drawing too much attention.
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.
In yesterday’s New York Times, Bill Carter — the Homer of the late night talk show Odyssey — penned a depressing, reality-checking piece about the state of the desks. The takeaway: the era of glib, monologue delivering, band-having, big-chinned raconteurs is over. Comedy Central’s one-two punch of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert — with their innate ability to attract millions of savvy, young eyeballs with nothing more expensive than a brightly-lit set and a staff of nerdy, male Harvard graduates — was the epoch-altering meteor that sealed the dinosaurs’ fate. But according to Carter, the sea-change in entertainment — how we consume it and how much we have to choose from — is what’s hastening their demise. (If you’re a scientist, think of this as the sun-blocking dust kicked up by said meteor. If you’re Michele Bachmann, consider it the legion of diplodocus-hunting ur-men who re-claimed the Earth for the true children of Adam. Either way.)