Monday, March 4, 2013

Jerry Seinfeld, Tonight Show host

"Tonight Show? Sure, why not?"

I was going to write about the "Fallon in as Tonight Show host" chatter going on, but Mark Evanier did a better job. Twice.

I disagree with his dismissal of Fallon, though. After running neck-and-neck with Craig Ferguson for what attention I can devote to late night talk shows, I'm firmly in the Fallon camp. Love his energy.

Does that mean I think he's great for the Tonight Show for 2014? Not sure about that. I think the best guy for the Tonight Show is the guy currently topping all other shows in the time slot.

Yes. Jay Leno.

Let's say I'm wrong and the mysterious, unnamed source of this latest rumor is right about NBC worrying about youth* and viral videos and Leno pulling a "losing to Univision." If we see something like this, if we see over the coming months (years?) that Leno is falling in the ratings and it becomes a mad dash for NBC to remain relevant in the time slot, how long could a swap take? I know it seems like networks like to take their time with late night talk show host switches (well, daytime talk show hosts, too: did it really take that much time to settle on Michael Strahan?), but if Leno quit tomorrow I suspect a new show could be up and running in no time. Especially if it happened under the watchful -- and experienced -- eye of Lorne Michaels.

And I'm not sure anything happens with Tonight until Jerry Seinfeld can be crossed off the list of potential hosts. I have little more than a hunch (and a Louie episode) to go on, here, but if NBC had to replace Leno today for Tonight, I wouldn't bet against Seinfeld. Yeah, Fallon actually has a talk show already, and a good one, so his bona fides are very good. But Seinfeld has Seinfeld, and there's little question he's industry-hardened and stage-tested.

* Because appealing to a younger audience really helped Conan.