For at least one evening, worlds collide on late-night television.
Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel decided to switch hosting duties on April 1, with Kimmel heading to New York to host NBC’s “Tonight Show” and Fallon heading to California to host ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Studio audiences attending each show weren’t told about the move in advance, which surprised them just as much as viewers who tuned in on Friday night. The Red Hot Chili Peppers served as musical guests for both programs.
While such stunts are rare — each late-night program competes with the others for viewership and social media activity — they are becoming less unique. In 2018, Fallon and Stephen Colbert used the same opening segment on CBS’s “Tonight” and “The Late Show,” which depicted the duo and Conan O’Brien poking fun at former President Donald Trump and some of the terms. which he used for various late-night hosts. Colbert visited Fallon on his first “Tonight” show in 2014, throwing a bag of coins at him. Similarly, Fallon participated in a skit set in a late-night locker room early in Colbert’s tenure at CBS.
The hosts also came together for advocacy and publicity. In September of last year, Colbert, Fallon, Kimmel, Seth Meyers, James Corden, Samantha Bee and Trevor Noah all highlighted the issue of climate change on a specific Wednesday evening. And in December, Noah, Colbert and Corden – all backed by networks owned by Paramount Global – agreed to weave a Google promotional message into each of their programs, part of a bid by the parent company to regild its portfolio. late night in Madison. Street.
The whole cooperation speaks to a new relationship between the programs that has sprung up since David Letterman and Jay Leno left “Late Show” on CBS and “Tonight” on NBC. In their time, relations between the hosts were difficult. Even Kimmel went public with his dislike of Leno back when the host regained his seat on “Tonight” after he was given to O’Brien.
In a time when viewers can flock to programs more suited to their interests, the number of late-night efforts has only increased. In addition to the aforementioned programs, early hours viewers were able to see shows directed by Bill Maher, John Oliver and Desus Nice and The Kid Mero. There were also attempts from Larry Wilmore, Jordan Klepper, David Spade, Robin Thede and Lilly Singh. As more shows have sprung up in recent years, many of their producers are keeping a texting backchannel open to compare notes and strategies. Freebies are being sent to shows that are about to end, and producers have been comparing notes on how to make their programs work amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Late night hosts aren’t the only ones cooperating in new ways, as the television industry keeps changing. When the USFL Spring Football League debuts on April 16, NBC and Fox will broadcast the event with NBC Sports producing pregame, halftime and postgame coverage and Fox Sports overseeing the broadcast of the match itself. Fox owns a stake in the league, but NBC shares some of its broadcast rights. Both networks will run the same ads.