Jimmy Fallon carried on the Late Night host tradition, handing off the legendary plastic pickle to his successor Seth Meyers during Meyers’ appearance Tuesday on Late Night. The pickle was passed on to Fallon from Conan O’Brien when Fallon took over Late Night in 2009. O’Brien had …
Jay Leno says farewell – again – to the Tonight Show desk on February 6, just four years after returning to the NBC show after the network booted him in favor of Conan O’Brien. “First time, I got blindsided,” Leno told 60 Minutes in an exit interview airing Sunday. The network gave him notice in 2004 that he’d be out after another four years. “‘You’re fired four years from right now,’” he recalled being told. “I said, ‘Sure.’ I said at the time I was going to do a half hour. And I believe Conan was going to follow later. He didn’t want to do that. He quit. And so they gave me the show back.” After a disastrous run on primetime in 2009 with The Jay Leno Show, NBC gave Leno back the Tonight Show chair. Last April they announced they were ousting Leno again in favor of the younger Jimmy Fallon. “It’s not my decision,” said Leno. “And I think I probably would have stayed if we didn’t have… an extremely qualified, young guy ready to jump in. If they said, ‘Look, you’re fired. We don’t know who we’re going to get. We don’t know what we’re going to put in there. But anybody but you, we just want you out of–’ I would be hurt and offended. But this makes perfect sense to me. I understand this.”
UPDATE, 11:19 AM: “The safety and security of our employees and guests has always been our top priority,” a spokesman for NBC Olympics said in a statement issued to the media. “We are taking every precaution to ensure their safety, including working with numerous domestic and international government security agencies on an ongoing basis.”
PREVIOUS, 10 AM: Will Jimmy Fallon‘s debut as NBC‘s new 11:35 PM funnyman — carefully orchestrated to take advantage of the network’s Sochi Winter Games ratings harvest — turn into a made-for-TV event out of step with what may be shaping up as one of the most dangerous Olympics in recent history? NBC has not said anything publicly as to whether it has any plans to beef up security after two bombings in the southern Russian city of Volgograd. Authorities suspect the bombings may be the work of a Chechen separatist group that has pledged to violently disrupt the Winter Games. The two bombings, which left at least 31 dead and more than 60 wounded, came less than six weeks before the competitions in Sochi, and have left some questioning whether terrorist violence will supersede athletic rivalry as the big story of these Olympics.
Jay Leno, who is being replaced by Fallon as host of Tonight to coincide with the Games, will take the desk for the last time on February 6; the Games begin February 7 and run though February 24. Fallon is scheduled to debut as new host of Tonight on February 17, when Games viewing levels on NBC should be high.
In the most recent blast, an explosion hit a trolley bus during the Monday morning rush hour in the Volgograd, which is about 400 miles northeast of Sochi. That came one day after a bombing at the city’s main train station. The two attacks come several months after the leader of a Chechen separatist group promised to attack the Games, calling them “satanic,” and adding, in a video that, “They plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims, buried on the territory of our land on the Black Sea.”
The two most recent bombings follow a blast last Friday, in which a car bomb killed three people in the Russian city of Pyatigorsk, 170 miles east of Sochi.
“What does Russian bombing mean for [Olympics] security worries?” NBC News wondered in a report following the two most recent bombings, adding “security officials around the world are concerned about terrorist attacks at the Olympic Games.” In its report, NBC News cited its counter-terrorism analyst Michael Leiter. “Since these Games were first awarded to Russia several years back, people were worried because of the long-standing conflicts,” Leiter said. “This type of mass transit is what officials are most concerned with.”
But Russian Olympic Committee chief Alexander Zhukov said Monday there was no need to take any extra steps to secure Sochi in the wake of the Volgograd bombings, as “everything necessary already has been done,” NBC News also reported.
Late night host/cast alumnus Jimmy Fallon and musical guest Justin Timberlake returned to Saturday Night Live this week with some familiar sketches and celebrity cameos. Paul McCartney, Madonna, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg briefly popped up, with the NYC mayor at the Weekend Update desk as Fallon officially passed the Late Night reins to Seth Meyers, who’ll take over his seat when Fallon moves to The Tonight Show. Check out highlights from last night:
Showtime today officially announced a third season pick-up for Inside Comedy, debuting Monday, February 3 at 11 PM ET, and will do its part to plug Jimmy Fallon’s takeover of NBC’s Tonight show later that month. Fallon is among those …
1) Prank America with fake YouTube video in which an twerking girl ignites herself. Check. 2) Get Paul McCartney to perform on yet another roof. Check. 3) Do comedy bit mocking notoriously thin-skinned Kanye West. Too easy? Check.
Watch Kimmel cash in on his Kanye West spoof last night, followed by the spoof that got Kanye’s undies in a bunch:
Jimmy Kimmel is stepping up his game in the walk-up to Jimmy Fallon‘s take-over of The Tonight Show, revealing on his Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night he’d faked the “Worst Twerk Fail EVER – Girl Catches On Fire!” video that went viral last week and snagged 9 million views in under a week. Kimmel’s show had emailed an alert earlier in the day that he’d booked the woman in the video who, ABC said, had shot the twerking video for her boyfriend. In the video, the woman falls over onto a coffee table filled with burning pillar candles — the international sign for “sexy” — which catches her yoga pants on fire. Among those who got punked by Kimmel’s video: Fallon.
Kimmel detailed how he’d enlisted a boatload of unwitting news and infotainment outlets to promote himself and his show. On his show last night, Kimmel showed the “end” of the video, in which he enters the room and puts out her pants with a fire extinguisher. The twerking girl announced to Kimmel’s audience she’s actually a stunt woman named Daphne. (continued)
“So there you go. To the conspiracy theorists on the Internet who thought we made it up – you were right, it was fake,” Kimmel giggled, noting that “did not stop hundreds of news outlets from showing it.” To complete the fun, he then showed a “sampling” of “media outlets” that fell for the video. Only one ABC program was included in the sample: The View. (The Ladies of The View were clearly not amused and, at the top of this morning’s show they aired a video said to be a look at at yesterday’s morning’s backstage pre-show planning meeting, in which they took turns saying of the twerk video: “I thought It was staged,” and “totally fake,” and “It has Jimmy written all over it.” After which, Babs Walters turned to the camera and snarked, “So, here’s to you, Jimmy Fallon!”)
CNN got a big nick, including CNN and HLN. NBC got scorched pretty badly too, with clips from MSNBC, and NBC’s Today. CBS’ The Talk was the only program from that network pilloried in the segment, as was syndicated Inside Edition. Several local Fox stations got nicked too. “Good thing nothing is happening in Syria,” Kimmel snickered, noting some of the outlets that fell for the prank blamed Miley Cyrus, whose twerky performance was all the talk after the VMA’s, to the consternation of Justin Timberlake.
EXCLUSIVE: Jay Leno-hosted Tonight Show will air its last episode on February 6, and, per terms of his show exit deal with NBC, the cast and crew will be paid until his contract expires in September. Tonight EP Debbie Vickers made the announcement today to staffers at the show, informed sources report. It’s unclear how many crew and staff were at the meeting on the show’s Burbank lot. At one point it was reported Tonight had about 170 total staffers, including some contract workers. NBC declined comment on today’s news.
The announcement isn’t a total surprise. At NBC’s Upfront presentation to advertisers in May, the network officially announced that Jay Leno would end his 22-year run on Tonight Show during the week leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics — which start February 7. NBC also announced Jimmy Fallon would replace him on Monday, February 24, the night after the closing ceremony, followed by the debut of Late Night With Seth Meyers at 12:30 AM. Fallon’s Tonight Show will be broadcast from New York City; Lorne Michaels is exec producing, and Fallon’s Late Night writer Amy Ozols has been named producer.