Unless you have been sleeping under a rock, you know there’s a new Jimmy in town, waking up Late Fringe. Jimmy Fallon, of SNL fame, and former host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, moved to the Tonight Show host chair, succeeding Jay Leno on February 17th.
So how’s he doin’?
NBC Broadcasting chairman Ted Harbert is ecstatic, claiming, “we kept who we had (with Leno) and added more (audience) which is hard to do in any day part”. Fallon has hit a slam dunk, almost overdelivering both Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman combined, especially in the coveted Adult 18-49 demo. Not only that, Fallon has also created a halo effect in peripheral programming in many markets, raising the ratings of Late News running prior and the Late Night with Seth Myers, running after Tonight. This is also the case in Philadelphia, in Adults 18-49, according to NSI, March 2013-2014.
Why is Fallon such a hit? Experts believe his refreshing and comfortable variety show format and less snarky approach (compared with his competitors) are working with viewers. His team is also strategic on extending the show’s shelf life by airing key bits on YouTube and social media platforms, garnering even more younger viewers (the Timberlake bit has already exceeded over 21 million views). In fact, on April 14th, Fallon celebrated over 3 million YouTube subscribers.
So what’s next for late night? Letterman just announced that he would step down after his contract is up in 2015, which we feel is due to the success of both Jimmy’s. Steven Colbert will replace Letterman, but potential rating shifts are more than a year away. And if the more entertaining, gentler approach is what’s making folks watch, Colbert may only be fighting Kimmel for second place.
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