|The “Late Show” marquee outside of the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York. | Photo: Chris White|
Other than Letterman, I’ve become a huge fan of Jimmy Fallon. Fallon first hosted “Late Night” – Letterman’s first late night hosting gig – and is now the host of “The Tonight Show.” Fallon, like his fellow late night counterparts, gave his tribute to Letterman. However, I must say that I was very disappointed with the decision to air a new episode of “The Tonight Show” – which airs at the same time as “The Late Show.” Meanwhile, Jimmy Kimmel aired a rerun of his show on ABC and Conan O’Brien told at-home viewers the exact moment to turn the channel and watch Letterman during his new episode.
Whether it was Fallon’s or NBC’s decision – or both – I thought it was disrespectful to air a new episode on Letterman’s final night on television. I saw quite a bit of talk on social media that May 20 was the end of the ratings cycle for television. It would be a crying shame if NBC was so desperate for ratings that it decided to air a new episode of “The Tonight Show” in hopes of competing with The “Late Show” – which ended up blasting away its competition based on preliminary numbers from Wednesday night. Would it have been that detrimental for Fallon’s show to take one night off to honor Letterman? It surely doesn’t seem to be an issue when “The Tonight Show” goes on two-week hiatuses from time to time.
Say what you want about Letterman, but you cannot deny how much of an
impact he’s made. If it wasn’t for Letterman’s unconventional methods of hosting a late night program, the world may have never seen Fallon or others. I wasn’t fortunate enough to watch Letterman for his entire late night run but I’ve seen him enough to understand how big of a mark he’s left on television history. There will never be another one like him.