Thursday, June 10, 2010

Late Night Ratings: Is NBC panicking over Fallon's numbers?

A reader sent along a link to the New York Post story about NBC's worries over Jimmy Fallon's ratings, which took "a 20 percent fall from May 2009." According to the Post, the network "is trying to boost Fallon's audience by booking appearances on his show by NBC and CNBC personalities, including Brian Williams, Rachel Maddow and Meredith Vieira," and even "dragging him out of bed in the morning to do the 'Today' show to promote his own show."

It smelled like a non-story to me when I first read it yesterday -- after all, an NBC source pointed out that in May 2009, Jay Leno was racking up huge numbers in his "farewell" to "The Tonight Show" and providing Fallon with a stronger lead-in -- and this astute piece by Christopher Rosen agrees that it's not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. Plus, "while Fallon trails both Craig Ferguson and Jimmy Kimmel in total viewers, he's beating them in the coveted 18-49 demographic."

My guess is that NBC doesn't want to ignite another late night war. Fallon taking over from Leno when he finally decides to vacate the "Tonight Show" throne is far from a done deal, but I suspect he'll be staying put at 12:35 for at least the next few years.


  1. sprouse said...

    Thanks for this. I was recently wondering how Fallon and Ferguson were doing with regards to ratings. I'm 100% for Ferguson (Fallon is still way too awkward/stiff for my tastes) but their shows are miles apart from one another; Fallon is the golden boy with the technology and pull and Ferguson is the indie show with no band and no fancy bits. I don't see this being a major issue, fans will stick with what they like. If Jimmy Fallon ever takes over Tonight, though...let's not go there.

    With regards to the article, no one ever sends me Fallon clips. I do watch a lot of the musical performances, though, because often the Roots will get in on them. That's not anything to do with Jimmy, though.

  2. floretbroccoli said...

    But how does the waving (Craig waving to Jimmy, Jimmy waving to Craig) factor in to all of this? SOMEONE must be studying that.

  3. Talk Show News said...

    Re: the waving, I think Craig & Jimmy are smart enough to know that they appeal to different demographics and that they can be friendly with each other. Which is nice! I'll be interested to see if Conan O'Brien's TBS show impacts his pal Jon Stewart's ratings once his program debuts this fall, since they are more of a demographic match.

  4. Guy Bauer said...

    I think once Jimmy finds his footing his numbers will come up. His main asset is his likability. That's all you need. Also, he needs to find his voice. If you remember back when Craig F. started he was doing a traditional monologue. Jimmy just needs to get comfortable.

  5. Anonymous said...


    Your band leader needs to be fired for what he pulled on Bachmann. She was your guest and they disrespected her.