Jimmy Fallon Announces First Tonight Show Guests, Reveals Major Monologue Tweak

The Tonight Show with Jimmy FallonJimmy Fallon will welcome Will Smith and U2 as his first guests when he takes over The Tonight Show on Feb. 17.

Fallon broke the news Sunday during a press conference at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.

Calling his new gig “surreal,” Fallon confessed, “I don’t want to let anyone down. I know how much the show means. It’s an important job. And I just want to make everyone laugh.”

He said viewers shouldn’t expect too many radical changes from what he’s being doing on Late Night these past five years, although he is taking predecessor Jay Leno’s advice and making his opening monologue longer.

“My monologues were about four minutes, and he was doing 10, so we have to double the material every night,” Fallon noted. (Leno explained to Fallon that many people turn to the Tonight Show for “a complete view of the news.”)

Here are some additional quick-hits from the Fallon session:

* Although he doesn’t have an end date in mind, “If I’m luck enough” to stay as long as Leno or Johnny Carson “I’d love to stay that long. I’m going to play it by ear and keep my head down and see how far that gets me.”

* Fallon isn’t concerned about the inevitable booking wars between The Tonight Show and David Letterman’s Late Show. “It’s never been a problem for us. We had the President of the United States on our show – you can’t get bigger than that.”

* Fallon will “bring [The Tonight Show] to Los Angeles a couple times out of the year.”

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58 Comments
  1. lmjo says:

    I could do without a ten minute monologue…

  2. Yeah, do not take advice from Leno. I can’t even stand one minute of his monologue, let alone ten. Not without groans and eye rolls.

    • Bob says:

      Agreed. Leno only said that because HIS audience is mostly over the age of 60, and that’s what they like. Fallon’s audience skews a lot younger. They prefer the bits he does after the monologue. Far more entertaining, especially the musical tributes.

    • Anniem remember a most important thing
      Jimmy is funny. I could listen to 30 minutes of Jimmy. You Go Jimmy.

  3. Kevin says:

    If you get your news from the Tonight Show, there is something not right. Please don’t take advice from Leno and be yourself and do what you want to do Jimmy.

  4. Paul says:

    Having seen Fallon’s show live a couple of times, I’m really glad to see that he’s going to be expanding the monologue. That’s always been the part of his show which gets rushed, whereas when you think of “The Tonight Show,” I always thought the monologue was one of the best parts (To Leno’s credit)– so I’m glad to hear Jimmy is going to adjust.

  5. Tabitha says:

    Not thrilled to hear that he’s doubling the monologue. Honestly, that’s the part I care about least during Late Night. What I love about the show are the bits before the first guest (Thank You Notes, Pros & Cons, Late Night Hashtags, etc.) and the games that he plays with his guests after the interview. I would hate to see those suffer because he decided to take advice from Jay Leno.

    • Justin says:

      I personally hate all of those things about Fallons show. It’s why I refuse to watch him.

    • Ch says:

      I hate hate hate those things too. And I hope he gets a new band. The games are the only good thing about his show but Hollywood game night is stealing that thunder now. Jimmy may go ok in the demo but he won’t be number one overall anymore.

  6. Sarahliz1624 says:

    Is anybody else having Conan flashbacks??

  7. A.D. says:

    God, I hate the LONG monologues! Please don’t listen to Leno, make it your own!

  8. mandypanda says:

    Noooooo!!! I think Leno’s monologue is way too long. I like how short Fallon’s is already…

  9. Colleen says:

    Jimmy has been doing a longer monologue for several months now. He uses more video & pre-taped bits, which are awesome. The games still are a very important, hilarious part of his show. In fact, there are always new games being developed. Jimmy , his writers, Higgins, & the Roots are incredibly & uniquely talented. The Tonight Show will be better than ever. Can’t wait for February 17th and good luck to Seth Myers too!

  10. Tran 2.0 says:

    So excited for NBC’s biggest late night shake up EVER. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers are destined to be breakout hits for the network and especially late night TV. As for Saturday Night Live, it’s a “sure thing” that it should have a Season 40 if it gets renewed because so far this season, SNL has done better since the lackluster Season 38 with the departures of three key players: Bill Hader, Fred Armisen and Jason Sudeikis.

  11. Nunaya_Bidness says:

    I thought for sure his first guest/musical act would be Justin Timberlake.

  12. Angela says:

    U2? Cool. Definitely will watch that night.

  13. Tammy says:

    I’m not sure 10 minutes is necessary…. as long as he is keeping The Roots, I’m happy!

  14. Mikaela says:

    NBC better not screw Jimmy over the way they did Conan.

  15. Tom Charles says:

    Fallon’s only going to have the show till Leno gets jealous and wants it back again. You know, like with Conan.

    • Seanny says:

      I think it is less likely since Jay Leno’s contract is essentially up. I believe last time NBC had foolishly given the (primetime) Jay Leno Show a two year commitment. That’s why they originally tried to push the Tonight Show w/ Conan back to 12:05, so they could still justify having to pay both Conan and Leno. Conan and his staff got a pretty big pay out since NBC ultimately settled with him.

      Also, one thinks that David Letterman will retire sometime in the not-too-distant future. Jimmy Fallon will probably not beat David Letterman, but he will have a better web presence, and will be in a good position to beat whoever replaces David Letterman. Even if CBS got Jon Stewart or moved up Craig Ferguson, they are not likely to appeal to as many people as Fallon. Jimmy Kimmel is a bit of a wildcard. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but he gets pretty good guests and they do lots of buzz worthy stuff with him.

  16. cjeffery7 says:

    that’s why i LIKE jimmy’s monologue. BECAUSE ITS SHORT. watching a guy stand there and deliver lines is SO BORING. i guess they have to cater a little bit to the traditional late night crowd.

  17. JWB says:

    It’s got disaster, written all over it. Jimmy Kimmel and Jon Stewart
    \Stephen Colbert will continue to prosper. While NBC continues to fail. Serves them right for dropping Conan.

    I don’t care for Leno but Fallon isn’t much better. Fallon has matured and improved since his debut but he isn’t ready for prime time.

  18. Et al. says:

    Thanks Leno. Now we’re going to end up with 10 minutes of Fallon attempting to sing every night.

  19. Ellen S says:

    I looked over NBC’s site and couldn’t find out how to request tickets for the new Tonight Show. Anyone know?

    • Jules Epstein says:

      I was told by phone they would be available on line. where and when i was not told.

    • Mary Ronco says:

      There is a NBC Ticket website and they say that by calling (212) 664-3056 between 9:00 and 5:00 you can request up to 4 tickets. You should request them about 6 weeks ahead of time.

  20. Robby Horine says:

    I wonder if this means that Fallon is going to stop laughing at his own jokes and mugging for the camera constantly?

    NBC is about to have a ratings disaster with Fallon and Myers. I never found these two losers funny on SNL or now. They are typical NBC ‘talent’, liberal, beta males and faux-hipsters.

    The constant drum of people saying these two are the funniest men alive is just nothing more than a hipster echo chamber.

    • Drywall Dan says:

      My thoughts entirely. The pleatless pantsuit manboy crowd ain’t gonna clamor to an NBC late night block. Neither of these two have the largesse, the distinct gravitas of a talk show host. The few times I have tuned into Fallon, I feel feelings of embarrassment, as if I am witnessing a 12 year old boy enduring some pains of self discovery on national television. His sketch work is good, but that is really an ancillary aspect of a talk show host. The monologue, and the interviewing skills must be head and shoulders above. His aren’t. And Seth – well – he’ll prove to be an interesting revelation I’m sure. If his body of work on SNL’s Weekend Update desk is any indicator, we can expect some smug, sophomoric, not-nearly-intelligent-as-he-thinks-he-is observations about the world. But hey, they do toe that party line that the execs in the industry want. NBC is gonna poop in their pants with this one. We might be witnessing the beginning of the end of a behemoth network, and even perhaps an industry. I’ll get the popcorn.

  21. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I am currently in the middle of reading The War for Late Night which is about everything that happened with Leno and Conan when Conan switched over to the Tonight Show. After reading this book, I would have to say it’s a terrible idea to take advice from Leno. Fallon should be leery of anyone trying to change what he does. I think part of the reason the Tonight Show with Conan struggled a bit was because Conan “tweaked” his act to make the show have a broader appeal to a larger audience. As a result, he lost some of his loyal viewers who appreciated his niche comedy, and couldn’t get a foothold with new Tonight Show fans. Jimmy should just do his own thing and let the rest work itself out.

  22. Pat says:

    Jimmy, just stay true to yourself and do what you have been doing while you were doing Late Night. As for Jay Leno giving you advice on anything, especially to upping your monologue to 10 minutes, just do not do it.

  23. qj201 says:

    Opening Talk Show Monologues and Saturday Night Live Skits….don’t know when to end…Funny for 4 minutes…the just drones on and on and on.

  24. Dave says:

    I would rather nbc just start from the beginning and rerun all the Johnny Carson episodes. None of these guys on any late nite show come close to carson

  25. Joey says:

    Great first guests for Jimmy’s first Tonight Show. Can’t wait to see it next month. so proud of him.

  26. Jenni says:

    Does anyone know how to get tickets or when they will be available for this?

    • Mary Ronco says:

      There is a NBC Ticket website and they say that by calling (212) 664-3056 between 9:00 and 5:00 you can request up to 4 tickets. You should request them about 6 weeks ahead of time.

  27. Amy says:

    Conan & Jimmy Kimmel are the two winners in all of this cause they are now the only shows in town and will prosper in booking high quality talent that may have previously been taken by the Tonight Show. Going to NY may seem like a good idea in the short term, but I bet it’s going to result in a lot of booking issues.

  28. John Moshier says:

    If he doest get the ratings they wont replace him they will kill the show late night is on its way out under this format

  29. Lori says:

    I just hope keeps headlines

  30. Lori says:

    I just hope he keeps headlines

  31. BrianR says:

    Is Leno free to sign up with any network. If so FOX should sign him and put on a show opposite Letterman and Fallon and see who wins.

  32. Kaongs says:

    Will Smith as a “memorable” first guest? Seriously? Jimmy could do way better…..years from now, no one will be reminiscing about Will Smith as an extraordinary first guest…..U2, I get, but not Will Smith. Name one film in recent memory that he’s been in that’s been well received……

  33. Mary Stout says:

    How do I get tickets for Feb 25-28 timeframe?

    • Mary says:

      There is a NBC Ticket website and they say that by calling (212) 664-3056 between 9:00 and 5:00 you can request up to 4 tickets. You should request them about 6 weeks ahead of time.

  34. Maggie says:

    I was never a big Jimmy Fallon fan, until I started seeing some of his bits on line, and started watching the show (when I could) after that. He is hilarious! I love that the show is coming back to NYC. I think he’s going to do great. I’m going to have to figure out who, between John Stewart, Colbert, and Fallon, will be getting DVRed for the next day. Tough choices ahead.

  35. Linda S. Osborn says:

    I have done a painting of Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. I call it The King and Queen of TV Talk. I would really love to present a copy to Mr. Fallon and someday Miss Latifah. They really the BEST of TV Talk so the name of the painting fits.

  36. Diane Kelso says:

    Jimmy do your own thing,,,roll with it … go with your gut! Your epic no matter what! <3

  37. danin says:

    10minutes!!.Noooooo…it’s the weakest part of Jimmy’s show.

  38. AnnieM says:

    As far as interviews, I think Craig Ferguson is the best, as he let’s his guests talk about pretty much whatever they want. Like Carson, he does not monopolize the conversation. Not sure about the rest.

  39. Tony Morris says:

    Love Jimmy Fallon, and Will Smith, however, the choice of U2 made me sick as they are a pompous bunch – The Edge and Bono. They had to play on the roof of the GE building simply because their egos couldn’t fit in the studio.

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