It was announced back in May that Jimmy Fallon would be taking over for Conan O’Brien as the host of The Late Show come Conan’s move up a timeslot in March of 2009. Until then, NBC has set up the late night comedy equivalent of Change.gov, LateNightWithJimmyFallon.com, where Jimmy will host nightly video blogs.
I thought that maybe NBC was using the term “video blog” loosely, that they really meant something like “webisodes,” but the one-and-a-half-minute vid of Jimmy casually addressing his new audience could not have been more aptly named.
And I think I’m a bit disappointed (except for the part where the best late night talk show band in history was announced). It would be awesome to see Jimmy and crew use their webshow as a testing ground where they could try out different routines, sidekicks, sets, whatever, and allow feedback from their early audience to shape the show.
Instead, we saw what was essentially a behind-the-scenes promo. But this was just the first installment of many, and I’m sure/hopeful that the new Late Night team will make use of the webshow for more interesting purposes.
During the press conference following the announcement of Jimmy’s ascension to the 12:30 throne, Late Night executive producer and father of SNL, Lorne Michaels made it clear that the web was going to be an important part of the soul of the new show. “I don’t think there’s anyone under the the age of eighteen that comes home from school and turns on their television set before they turn on their computer,” said Michaels. “You have to take that into consideration… and you want them to make that exception and watch this show.”
This commitment from Michaels, and the involvement of the net-savvy former Attack of the Show executive producer (and Tilzy.TV fan) Gavin Purcell as co-producer suggests that those “more interesting purposes” could be around the corner.
But what are they waiting for?! C’mon! Chop-chop, fellas! You have three more months to put together a program worthy of filling Conan O’Briens coiffure, an audience willing to help you do it, and a platform to connect you to them. The “Ask Jimmy” bit is fine and dandy but consider taking a page from the Vaynerchuk playbook and pose questions to your audience…constantly. It’ll foster community, help you learn about your viewers, and may even generate a few good ideas.
Welcome to the internet, Jimmy! Have fun, juice it for all it’s worth, and, most importantly, don’t forget about it when you become a fancy-shmancy TV host next year.