It appears that Jimmy Fallon will be the next Tonight Show host. It is rumored that he’ll take over for Jay Leno when his contract expires in 2014, and the show will move to New York City. But as both David Letterman http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Letterman and Conan O’Brien know, a deal’s never a deal until the deal is done (and even then). And more importantly to note, whether (and when) Fallon is handed the mantle is not really the big news here. The news is that a whole generation—Fallon’s generation, really could care less.
When the Tonight Show was introduced in 1954, television was in its infancy, and when a show like the Tonight Show aired, all of “America” watched. Today, “America” watches a variety of programming—how and when they want—thanks to the likes of Netflix, “on-demand” and recording devices. So, what airs at 11:35pm every evening is becoming less and less relevant to “America.” The concept of “counter programming” is becoming more and more irrelevant. We can watch Conan, or John Stewart, or Colbert, or Jimmy Kimmel when we want, and where we want—from our TV to our tablets. And, whether the show is called “Tonight Show” or “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” we tune in for the content, not the title. http://www.latenightwithjimmyfallon.com/
Fallon’s is a generation that really doesn’t care about the deal-making and back-stabbing, and negotiations happening around the next Tonight Show host. It really doesn’t change much for them. When Conan O’Brien was handed the Tonight Show only to have it pulled out underneath him, we just shifted over to TBS to watch Coco. It was all about “Team Coco” not NBC vs. Jay Leno vs. Conan. No problem. http://teamcoco.com/
The dying nature of the hullabaloo around passing the mantle of Tonight Show host exemplifies changing times. Steve Allen (1954–1957), Jack Paar (1957–1962), Johnny Carson (1962–1992), and Jay Leno (1992–2009, 2010–present) and even David Letterman represent past generations with different viewing habits. Coco, Stewart, Colbert, Kimmel and Fallon speak to those who care little about whether shows air “live” or not, and whether it follows tradition or not.
No, we really don’t care if Jimmy Fallon is the next Tonight Show host. We just care that he's on-air, and funny.