Monday, May 25, 2009

Jimmy Fallon: "Charming," but still searching for a voice

The New York Times reports on the first three months of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," quoting pros and media buyers who sing the praises of the host's likability.

“When 75 percent of the audience likes the person, you’re 75 percent of the way there,” said Lorne Michaels, who selected Fallon to take over the 12:35 time slot from Conan O'Brien. “He’s a good performer and impressionist. The rare thing is he’s charming.”

Producer Robert "Morty" Morton, who spent years working with David Letterman, says that the new kid on the late night block still needs to find his voice. “Comics spend years finding a point of view and voice. Then it becomes easy to write for a Johnny Carson or Jay Leno or David Letterman. Jimmy needs to establish some pieces that are his, the way you know a David Letterman piece is his when you see it.”

Despite his work on "Saturday Night Live," Michaels has attended every single "Late Night" taping. “I was also there at Conan the first few months. When you have a kid, you have to be there at drop-off every day. And then when they get older, at some point you quietly tip-toe out of sight.”