The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon was a success in its first week, blowing competitors out of the water in terms of ratings. It’s also earned an impressive 7.7 rating on IMDb, as compared with Jay Leno’s 5.3 and David Letterman’s 6.9.
So, why does a new study say Jimmy’s show could mean the end of talk shows? Simply put, it has to do with percentages of the show spent actually speaking with guests.
“To do a talk show, you have to talk, and Fallon doesn’t do too much of that,” Grand View University communications professor Stephen Winzenburg, who conducted the study, told Hollywood Reporter.
Professor Winzenburg explained Jimmy only spent an average 33 percent of The Tonight Show interviewing guests, whereas Jay Leno devoted an average 51 percent during his final month to similar segments. Instead, Jimmy dedicated more time to music, sketches and “goofy gimmicks that are meant to go viral online.” (That proved to be a good tactic: Nine of Jimmy’s Tonight Show videos earned more than one million online views in the first week. Jimmy and Will Smith’s “Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing” video was the most-viewed.)
“If Fallon continues to push comedic sketches and music at this pace while retaining his premiere-week popularity, the entire genre may evolve into only a small portion of the program used for actual talk segments,” Winzenburg said, suggesting this is more of a variety show. “With the popularity of Fallon’s first week, this could be a sign of the end of the traditional talk show as we know it.”
Would you be sad to see traditional talk shows go by the wayside?