After over 20 years in the business, Jay Leno is leaving (for real this time) his spot as the host of The Tonight Show. Jimmy Fallon, who currently hosts Late Night, was recently announced as his successor. The show will move back from LA to 30 Rock in NYC, and will be produced by Lorne Michaels, the long-time executive producer of Saturday Night Live, where Fallon was once a regular cast member. For weeks, rumors circulated about who would take the throne of late night television, but the choice of Fallon was solidified when Leno and Fallon made a video that went viral on YouTube. The video, a parody on the song "Tonight" from West Side Story, explained that Leno was stepping down peacefully, wishing Fallon the best of luck in taking over the famed position. Fallon will now be the sixth host of The Tonight Show, following in the footsteps of not only Leno, but also Johnny Carson. He's got big shoes to fill. Can he do it?
Fallon is one of the newcomers to the late night hosting game. He, along with a few others that are part of the new wave of hosts, aim to garner interest from the younger generation. Older hosts such as Jay Leno and David Letterman are household names, but they don't really present as much of a draw or appeal like they used to to new audiences. They are more for our parents' generation as opposed to our own. But now, hosts such as Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Conan O'Brien are becoming more prominent, gaining popularity with the 18-49 year old demographic.
These new hosts have a new style. They bring with them a sense of comedy that the older generation does not seem to possess. Young viewers finds these hosts funnier and more relatable than their predecessors. The new hosts feature more Saturday Night Live type sketches on their shows, as opposed to just having celebrities come in to promote new movies. This new form of hosting draws in the younger viewers, making the hosts themselves as appealing as the celebrity guests they feature.
Speaking of the guests, the younger hosts seem to have a lot more interviewees that the younger generation wants to see. At the coaxing of the hosts, the celebrity guests do crazy and wacky things in addition to answering questions. This is a contrast to the traditions of the older hosts, who just seemed to plop them in a chair and interrogate them uncomfortably until their ten minutes on air were up.
I'm certainly not complaining about the old hosts, however. My parents still watch David Letterman every night, in addition to owning the t-shirts and visiting the deli next to his studio. Letterman has some pretty famous guests on his show, and even though the conversation can sometimes be uncomfortable, it's a classic and enjoyable to watch.
That doesn't stop me from liking the new hosts though. As time progresses, television evolves, breathing new life into the old standards with fresh new hosts. I have no doubt that Jimmy Fallon can uphold The Tonight Show name, and I'm sure that by the time I'm old and have children of my own, his name, too, will be falling into the history books.
Natalie Hamil is a Writing, Literature and Publishing major at Emerson College. She enjoys skimming bookstore shelves, watching the sun rise, and wearing bright/patterned pants.