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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Jimmy Fallon For Conan, Conan For Leno Next Year

Sounds like a good choice to me: Variety reports that Jimmy Fallon will replace Conan O'Brien as the first step in Conan replacing Jay Leno. At the "upfront" the week of May 12, when the networks announce their fall schedules, NBC is expected to announce that Fallon will take over for Conan in February sweeps.... then Conan will replace Leno in September '09.

What fascinates me most about this story is how Leno is apparently having second thoughts about leaving "The Tonight Show," which is still No. 1 in late night. And how ABC (despite the heavy Kimmel promotions), Fox and Sony are interested in Leno. Sony apparently would launch a late-night syndicated show with him.

I know some people love to hate Leno (particularly Letterman fans) and other love him. I still think his monologue is one of the most consistently funny parts of daily television. (I used to say the funniest, but can't any more because of Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report.")

Is Fallon a good choice for O'Brien's show? How will Conan's act play on "The Tonight Show?" (I guessing Letterman will become No. 1 when Leno leaves.) Do you think Leno could have similar success doing a late-night show on another network? Or do you want him to just go away?


at 4/25/2008 9:46 AM Blogger stopint said...

fallon ... no talent hack ...he is his biggest fan... i guess he could do his Gibb brother skit every night ...

at 4/25/2008 10:00 AM Blogger Steve Scherer said...

I love Letterman. However, his show was better on NBC in the late slot. Conan will have to change his show to appeal to the 11:30 crowd and will be more successful there than Letterman. Jimmy Fallon is a very over-rated talent. I'd have "Triumph The Insult Comic Dog" replace Conan instead of Fallon. As far as Leno, I think he'll always be successful stealing the comedy of others. That is his forte.

at 4/25/2008 10:45 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally agree with the above posters... Fallon is SO overrated. Not funny to me in the least. But with a room full of talented writers (aka budding young Conan-types), who knows...

Nah, he's still a d-bag.

at 4/25/2008 11:36 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whom has Fallon ever made laugh other than Horatio Sanz?

at 4/25/2008 12:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conan just isn't funny anymore. He does the same schtick in the same order on every show. Comes out and does a dumb little dance, a few jokes, more dumb dancing. Once you really start to pay attention to it - it becomes annoying.

I was surprised when I was channel surfing - that Craig Ferguson is actually a lot funnier. Once you get past the Scottish accent - its really refreshing.

And I wouldn't be surprised if Leno doesn't pull some shenanigans to stay on NBC. After all - he hid in a closet when his agent brokered a deal to get Johnny out - then refused to stand by her when the ball on his career really got rolling. He is a no-class act.

at 4/25/2008 12:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Stewart would have been the better choice, but now Dave's buddy will be available when he retires. The tonight show will remain #1 only on the ghost of Johnny Carson. Jay can polish his cars and count his money. bye bye!

at 4/25/2008 12:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I like Craig Ferguson better than Letterman, Leno, O'Brien or Fallon. He is so much funnier even if he does do some of the same stuff every night. I think Fallon will tank within 6 months. He just doesn't have what it takes to hold down a show 5 days a week. I think his show will get old and boring very fast.

at 4/25/2008 2:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch this Saturday night on C-Span, when they air the correspondent's dinner. Craig Ferguson is the star act. It will be right up there with last year's "Whose Line". Who can forget Karl Rove gettin' giggy!

at 4/25/2008 9:01 PM Blogger SophiaZ123 said...

I love Craig Ferguson but wish he would do less skits with those creepy looking characters with the huge, ugly teeth and big ears. Ugh. I love his opening routine and have read he kind of outlines his monologue but does not follow a strict script.

His interviews with guests often seem rushed (some should have more than one segment like when Dario Franchitti was on)

But once I could understand Craigs accent, I think he is good.

Letterman has phoned in his show for years and once he stopped leaving the studio for skits (golf course, or working a drive thru,etc) his show lost it's snap. I still watch and some nights he IS funny but often, it's just 'tired'. Leno is ok...I like to catch Headlines when I remember.

I never watch SNL so have no idea if Fallon is funny or not.

Conan used to be funny but I lost interest in him long ago and he often goes for cruder humor than he used to.

Anyway, just nice to see others that appreciate Craig. He recently became a US citizen and talked about that a lot on his show. Seems like a good guy.

at 4/26/2008 10:58 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Conan could bring back Andy Richter as his co-host, he's got a winner.
The show was funny and Conan works much better playing off someone like Richter who's also a writer.
Don't know about Fallon - I guess they can give him a try.

I like Ferguson, and his accent is part of the fun - he has enough of the English comic timing to be good. Letterman seems to me like the same old, same old these days.

At least Leno tries a few new ideas and still does stand up comedy outside the show. I thought he did a great job during the strike generating his own stuff. My guess is he will leave NBC to do a continuous gig in Vegas with maybe a few network specials in between.

at 4/27/2008 3:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Giving a late night show to Jimmy Fallon shows that research and demographics are running television.
How does someone with no experience hosting a nightly interview show and little accomplishment elsewhere get this job? He gets it because research shows Fallon is popular with the target young age range that television wants to attract to appeal to advertisers.
This is why content and program planning is weak, because it is not the priority. Fallon may do well, he may not. But it doesn't matter because he will help the network sell time to desirable sponsors.
Leno will be gone soon and Letterman will retire in a few years. Then each host of late night will be young. There will never again be anyone over 50 hosting one of these shows.

at 4/29/2008 1:19 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conan had zero experience hosting a show. Same goes for Ferguson. And I wouldn't quite call "The Man Show" a nightly interview, we can throw Jimmy Kimmel in there as well.
I don't think experience hosting, is a good barometer for who could be good.
Since Fallon has been out of sight for awhile (his last big role in a film was "Fever Pitch")...I doubt the suits are picking him because he is the flavor of the month.
At least I would hope not.

at 4/30/2008 5:33 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letterman is funniest, although he is repetitive sometimes. When he retires, I think Ferguson could be a great replacement. Ferguson does a great monologue, and would work well with a house band, larger audience, and bigger budget.

I predict Conan will not adapt well to the 11:35 timeslot. Fallon will probably be better than Conan's current show. I'm pulling for Conan, because he definitely has distinctive humor, but he does the same lame sketches, stupid dances, and awkward banter every night.

at 5/13/2008 9:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I both dislike the Conan O'Brien Show. When we are at the end of the Jay Leno Show we hurry and turn the channel because we don't even like his entrance music. I guess it will be Letterman or something on cable, definitely not Conan O'Brien.

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