Life in the Slow Lane

February 19, 2009

Heavy hittes give Fallon early late-night boost

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 11:45 am

NBC is holding nothing back during Jimmy Fallon’s first week in the 12:35 a.m. time slot being vacated by Conan O’Brien.

The network announced today that Robert DeNiro and Van Morrison will appear on the debut telecast March 2, with Tina Fey and Cameron Diaz among other big names to take a seat during Fallon’s first week.

NBC would appear to need to take every chance possible to keep the Peacock atop the ratings (even with Conan’s farewell on the way, CBS; Craig Ferguson has steadily gained in the ratings). That’s why, despite the hesitation of many viewers, NBC had to go with an established talens such as Fallon – like Conan a “Saturday Night Live” alumnus – as opposed to a relative unknown such as Conan, who was plucked from a writing gig with “The Simpsons” to take over for David Letterman and who literally grew into the star talent he is now in front of America’s eyes.

I don’t stay up that late anymore, so the move probably won’t have any impact on me, but what do you late-night viewers think? Are you looking forward to seeing Fallon? Do you think Conan can do as well an hour earlier? And what of Jay Leno’s move to prime time (which I think is a brilliant move, cuz people love Leno)?

•••

Here, from NBC, is the full release.

Lorne Michaels, Executive Producer of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” along with Producer Michael Shoemaker, have announced that two-time Academy Award-winning actor, director and producer Robert De Niro will guest star on the show’s premiere Monday, March 2 on NBC at 12:35 a.m. ET. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer Van Morrison will perform from his critically acclaimed “Astral Weeks,” named by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003 as one of the top 20 albums of all time.
Also slated to appear on the show during it’s inaugural week are such stars as Tina Fey, Jon Bon Jovi and Santigold (Tuesday, March 3); Cameron Diaz and Billy Crudup (Wednesday, March 4); Donald Trump, Serena Williams and Ludacris (Thursday, March 5); and Drew Barrymore and Mario Batali (Friday, March 6).

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