Sunday, July 21, 2024

If Jay Leno is Out: Lorne Michaels Would Have SNL, Tonight and Late Night with Seth Meyers


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.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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