In case you haven’t heard, Jimmy Fallon will be taking over for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show in the Spring of 2014. NBC claims they are trying to attract a younger audience. This would make sense except for the fact that Leno’s ratings are great.
Leno is the perfect guy for late night TV. He is actually pleasant. On that note, if anyone should be getting rid of their late night host it should be CBS; David Letterman has become anything but pleasant, not to mention the fact that Leno always cleans his clock in the ratings.
When Letterman arrived on the scene 30 years ago, he was a welcome breath of fresh air for late night television. And that wasn’t a knock on Johnny Carson. The Tonight Show was entertaining and Carson was always funny. But Letterman—with his offbeat sense of humor, Stupid Pet Tricks and Top 10 List was a great alternative for a younger audience (which I was a part of back then).
Then, something happened: Carson announced he was retiring, and the infamous feud between Letterman and Leno ensued. That fight so embittered Letterman, that, apparently, he has never recovered from it. Crankiness has become a permanent part of his persona, and to be honest, it stresses me out. He’s especially cantankerous when he has political guests on with whom he disagrees (Bill O’Reilly, for example). Conversely, Leno frequently banters with political players—both liberal and conservative—yet one would never know what his political leanings are.
Late night television should make us laugh and help us unwind from the stresses of everyday life while we peacefully nod off to sleep—not get our blood pressure up. Letterman is 66 years old, and frankly, 30 years is long enough. It’s time for Mr. Cranky to go be grumpy at home. And guess what? The perfect replacement will be available in the Spring of 2014.