Are Page Six and 'Mr. Television' Conspiring Against Jimmy Fallon?
Wednesday's edition of Page Six reports that the ratings for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon are down 20 percent from May of 2009 and that NBC executives are "on edge" over the fall. Gasp! Says Mediaweek's Marc Berman -- who actually goes by the late, great Milton Berle's old nickname "Mr. Television" -- "When they took out Jay and put in Conan, they lost a lot of the viewers who would usually have stayed on to watch Fallon. The lead-in is pivotal . . . When you mess around with viewers, sometimes it's hard to get them back. TV is a very fickle business . . . If there is a lesson to be learned from this debacle, it is that if it's not broken, don't fix it." Good point, Mr. TV! And good thing Fallon isn't broken.
As the Page Six post helpfully buries at the bottom of its inverted pyramid, Fallon's May 2009 numbers were skewed because they coincided with Jay Leno's final Tonight Show broadcasts. Further, while Fallon trails both Craig Ferguson and Jimmy Kimmel in total viewers, he's beating them in the coveted 18-49 demographic. And that doesn't even account for the viral nature of Fallon's web-friendly show. Quick: When was the last time someone sent you a video from The Late Late Show?
So, non-story. Or -- at the very least -- not a story to headline "NBC on edge after Fallon's ratings tumble." Did Fallon cross Richard Johnson and/or Mr. Television in a past life? And what would Cindy Adams say about all this? Probably something in a rhyme scheme with references to Jazzy. May he rest in peace.
· NBC on edge after Fallon's ratings tumble [NYP/Page Six]