Photo Credit: NBC
January must have been quite a month for Jimmy Fallon. Eleven months ago, when his talk show debuted in Conan O'Brien's old time slot, the 36-year-old SNL alum couldn't possibly have foreseen the shake-ups ahead at his network.
Now, Jay Leno is leaving primetime and returning to The Tonight Show, O'Brien has left NBC, and Fallon may be in line for an upgrade: according to some in the industry, Fallon is the new heir-apparent to Leno's throne
In recent weeks, the host of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon managed to avoid taking sides in the Leno-Conan dispute. "It's kind of weird because these are two of my heroes and two of my friends," he said on his Jan. 10 show. "I feel like I met a great woman, got married, and now I'm finally getting to know my in-laws," he said. "And they are craaaaa-zy!"
But if Fallon's on track to be groomed for The Tonight Show, he faces many of the same hurdles that dogged O'Brien. "Jimmy has the same problem Conan does: they're innovative, edgy and they play to a younger crowd," said Janette Barber, executive producer of Rosie Radio on Sirius satellite radio. "If NBC wants less edgy for Tonight, then they have a problem."
"No. What, have you heard something?" asked Fallon. Polite laughter ensued. Hmmm. With a knack for safe softballs like that, maybe Fallon would fit in as a Tonight Show host, after all.
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