In a 2012 poll, viewers were asked who they would watch on late-night TV if all the talk show hosts were on at once. Jimmy Fallon’s theoretical audience made up a small percentage of the late-night audience, at just 6 percent. Fallon only beat out Jimmy Kimmel at 3 percent, but he came up well short of the 23 percent boasted by Leno.
After trying and failing to replace Leno with Conan O’Brien a few years ago, NBC tapped Fallon to take over hosting “The Tonight Show” in 2014. While he isn’t exactly obscure, Fallon isn’t the TV heavyweight that Leno and Conan are, which leaves us wondering—who is going to be watching this guy’s show, exactly?
So, inspired by that poll, we’ve come up with our own profile of what a typical Fallon viewer might look like.
They’re Young (for Now)
Fallon’s current demographic is pretty young. These are the people who enjoyed Fallon’s run on “Saturday Night Live” or simply never got into Conan. According to the 2012 poll, that 6 percent share dropped to 3 percent in the 50-65 year-old demographic, who would rather be watching Leno.
The chances of these viewers switching to Letterman is slim, as Letterman’s hold is in the 35-50 demo, with older viewers finding him distasteful. Assuming that the 50-plus crowd wants to keep watching late night talk shows when Fallon takes over in 2014, there’s a good chance they’ll warm up to Fallon as a younger Leno… or, the switch will create a gap in the market for Wilford Brimley to launch a new talk show for the elderly, according to a rumor that we just made up right now.
When Fallon takes over, the show will be moving to New York City, where Fallon will team up with SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels, who most recently finished producing the critical darling “30 Rock” with SNL alumni Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan. Chances are that Fallon will win back some of his SNL audience by giving us a glimpse of Lorne Michael’s vision for a talk show.
They’ll Drive Hybrids and VWs (If they Drive)
Leno leads the market in terms of appealing to conservatives, but Fallon’s younger, hipper demographic isn’t going to warm up to the gaz-guzzling truck- and SUV-driving demo. We expect the car commercials on Fallon’s “The Tonight Show” to look a little more like Conan’s. Conan fans, the poll indicates, are largely atheistic, independent-voting middles classers with a middle-left lean. They’re most likely to be spotted in VWs in Phoenix, New York, San Diego and other major cities, while Fallon’s viewers will probably be split roughly between hybrid-owensr, VW-lovers and the bus pass crew.
They’re Not Going to be the Most Politically Informed
Case in point: They’re watching Jimmy Fallon.
If they were more informed, they’d know that Conan is a funnier version of the same persona.
To be fair, Fallon may have better material once he starts working with the “The Tonight Show” budget and Lorne Michaels, but time will tell if he’s funny enough to fill Leno’s shoes where even Conan could not.
Author Bio: April Cambell is a film reviewer and TV gossip columnist loving the California life.
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