The real winner of this ugly mess at NBC over the late night talk shows would be Lorne Michaels. So says a keen NBC inside observer who prefers to remain nameless. I agree however. For a long time Michaels has been the only person who knew how to navigate the crazy alleys of NBC. True, he lost Conan O’Brien in the last skirmish. But this time, Michaels would win out. He’d have “Saturday Night Live,” as well as Jimmy Fallon as host of a New York based “Tonight” show.
What’s more, it’s likely that Michaels would install Seth Meyers as Fallon’s successor at “Late Night.” Meyers is so ready to bolt “SNL.” He came close to being Kelly Ripa’s cohost last September but he stayed with “SNL.” Meyers is over-ready for his own show.
Keeping the late night talk shows in New York–especially “Tonight” with Jimmy Fallon–would just shore up Michaels’s situation. Right now, Fallon benefits from having the “SNL” cast and alumna always at the ready as guests. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Andy Samberg have been frequent guests. Adding Meyers as a host to his rotation, Michaels creates a very “clubby” atmosphere, very collegial, and hip. The audience loves it.
Just wait for that Seth Meyers announcement. It’s coming. And even though I predicted Meyers would be sitting with Kelly Ripa this fall– and it didn’t happen–this one, my NBC insiders say, is far more certain.