Late night television has become synonymous with Jimmy Fallon, but there was a time when neither he nor NBC saw him in a hosting role. In the latest episode of the Strike Force Five podcast, Fallon opened up about his initial disinterest in hosting Late Night on NBC.
After leaving Saturday Night Live in 2004, Fallon had his sights set on a career in movies, much like Bill Murray or Eddie Murphy. However, producer Lorne Michaels reached out to him about taking over as host of Late Night, as Conan O’Brien was considering a move to The Tonight Show in six years, following Jay Leno’s tenure.
When Michaels asked if Fallon would ever want to do a talk show, Fallon responded, “I don’t think so. … In six years, ask me, and if I’m around I’ll think about it.” Years later, Michaels followed up with Fallon. After consulting with his wife, who encouraged him to accept the offer, Fallon called Michaels and said, “I’m in. I’d love to do it.” However, Michaels informed Fallon that NBC was hesitant to offer him the hosting position because he hadn’t starred in many movies and was still trying to establish himself after SNL.
Undeterred, Michaels “went to bat” for Fallon, telling NBC, “Either you do this with Jimmy, or I’m not involved.” This ultimately led to NBC reconsidering and offering Fallon the Late Night hosting gig. Fallon credits Michaels with changing his life.
From 2009 to 2014, Fallon successfully hosted Late Night. He then took over as host of The Tonight Show, his current late night home.
Fallon wasn’t the only Strike Force Five host to owe their Late Night gig to Michaels. Seth Meyers, who currently hosts the program, admitted that Late Night “was not on my radar at all as something that I was going to do in my future.” However, he came across a New York Post story that claimed he was one of the rumored replacements.
Shortly after, Michaels called Meyers to discuss the opportunity. Meyers humorously described talking to Michaels as a follow-up call to a conversation that never happened. Michaels reassured Meyers, saying, “I think you’ll do it, and it will be good, and it will take time, but you’ll have Jimmy as a lead-in.” Meyers accepted the offer and took over as host of Late Night in 2014.
The Strike Force Five podcast episode shed light on the behind-the-scenes decisions that shaped the late night landscape. It’s a testament to the trust and belief that Lorne Michaels had in these comedians, ultimately leading to the success of both Fallon and Meyers on Late Night.
Late night television has become an integral part of American culture, with hosts like Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers entertaining audiences long into the night. Their journeys to hosting Late Night were not without struggles, but with the support of legendary producer Lorne Michaels, they were able to carve out successful careers in the late night space.
Both Fallon and Meyers have proven themselves as talented hosts, bringing their own unique comedic styles to their respective shows. Late Night has become a launching pad for comedy careers, offering an opportunity to connect with audiences and make a lasting impression.
Late night television continues to evolve, with new hosts taking the reins and putting their own spin on the format. However, the contributions of Fallon and Meyers cannot be overlooked, as they have left an indelible mark on the late night landscape.
As viewers, we can appreciate the talent and dedication it takes to host a successful late night show. Behind the polished on-air performances, there is a team of writers, producers, and crew members working tirelessly to create engaging content night after night.
Late night television remains a beloved institution, offering a mix of comedy, interviews, and topical discussions. Whether it’s watching a hilarious monologue, a viral skit, or a heartfelt interview, late night has something for everyone.
In conclusion, the Strike Force Five podcast episode featuring Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and other late night hosts shed light on their journeys to hosting Late Night. While Fallon initially had reservations about hosting, Lorne Michaels convinced him to take the opportunity, ultimately changing his life. Similarly, Meyers didn’t see Late Night in his future until Michaels called him and offered him the position. These stories highlight the role that Michaels played in shaping the late night landscape and the trust he had in these talented comedians. Late night television has become an integral part of American culture, with Fallon and Meyers leaving their mark on the genre. As viewers, we can appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes into creating these shows and the entertainment they provide us each night.