The Roots will jump from “Late Night” to “The Tonight Show” when Jimmy Fallon takes over as host next year, answering the most important question raised by NBC’s latest talk-show shuffle and ensuring that the best band in late-night stays there.
But NBC still has to figure out what to do with “Late Night,” the franchise that made David Letterman and Conan O’Brien stars. Conventional wisdom (and the rumor mill) points to Seth Meyers, left, currently employed by “Late Night” executive producer Lorne Michaels as “Saturday Night Live’s” head writer and “Weekend Update” anchor.
While I would welcome the move as a way to shake up “SNL” (Meyers has been with the show since 2001 and became a head writer in 2006), I’m not sure who a Meyers-hosted “Late Night” is for. “SNL” draws a modest number of viewers each week, but I’m guessing only a small percentage tune in primarily for “Update.” Also, when you get down to it, who is Meyers beyond a snarkier version of Fallon?
Letterman’s “Late Night” pushed the format’s conventions, O’Brien’s amped up the absurdity and Fallon’s came with The Roots. Meyers’ “Late Night” potential seems sketchy at best.