Back in December, when soon-to-be late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon began publishing nightly video blogs, I was a little skeptical of whether Jimmy and crew would take advantage of the platform, and I got called out in the comments for being too hasty in my judgment. Turns out, I was. Over the past three months, Jimmy Fallon has demonstrated that he does indeed understand this crazy medium.
Let’s take a look back at where Jimmy got it right.
First, the appointment of Gavin Purcell as the show’s producer brought some internet expertise and nerd cred to the team. Gavin is the former producer of G4’s (nèe TechTV, nèe ZDTV) flagship program, Attack of The Show.
Jimmy joined Gavin on Twitter and quickly engaged Twitterati, connecting with Digg and Revision3 founder Kevin Rose, video blogger Steve Garfield, and venture capitalist Fred Wilson. He currently has over 174,000 followers, making him the 14th most follwed Twitterer.
After establishing himself as a presence on Twitter, Jimmy headed to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, the veritable Mecca of gadgetry, to befriend geeks IRL. There he made appearances on Engadget and Attack of the Show and of course filed his own reports.
The following week, while in Los Angeles for requisite press tour visits to Leno and Ellen, Jimmy added two less traditional stops. He chatted Warcraft with The Guild ‘s Felicia Day and made BFFs with Kevin and Alex, co-hosting an episode of Diggnation and has promised that they will appear on his show during its first month.
Even when he’s not rubbing elbows with weblebrities, Jimmy just gets it. I was concerned that the videoblog would be a series of disguised commercials, used purely for promotional purposes to reacquaint us with the former SNL star. But they weren’t. Jimmy began a conversation with his new fan base, even interviewing a random fan via iChat. And, in the true spirit of the hyper-public social web, Jimmy took us in the room for his laser eye surgery… it was disgusting.
Whether a grasp of the web will translate to success on the airwaves remains to be seen. But if nothing else, the three-month series made us more comfortable with Jimmy and, more importantly, by getting his fans involved early on, made us invested in his show and it’s success.
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon premieres tonight at 12:30 on NBC and should be available tomorrow on Hulu.
Break a leg tonight, Jimmy. The internet is rooting for you.