Thursday, July 24, 2008

TV: Jimmy Fallon's online "Late Night" series, innovative?

There's been a lot of buzz about late night hosts inheriting time-slots next Spring, but the news has mainly covered Conan O'Brien getting ready to plant his pasty behind in Jay Leno's cushy chair.

It wasn't until it was announced that Jimmy Fallon (Fever Pitch and "SNL") would debut online that people remembered who would be replacing Conan.

Producer Lorne Michaels defends his choice, saying that it's a great way for him to work out the show's kinks before he goes live on the network. After seeing Wendy Williams' rocky FOX debut last week, I can attest to that not being a bad idea.

While it is true that previewing a scripted series, like Myspace's "Quarterlife," online before it hits television doesn't usually pan out, in all fairness that show didn't continue on the network but was instead re-aired. Most teenagers and young adults, who will be Fallon's main audience, tend to watch late night through Youtube or network website clips anyway. So perhaps this marketing strategy isn't a demotion or a lack of confidence on Michaels' part, but a clever test-drive that other networks might attempt in the future.

Will you watch Fallon online?
Would you watch any series online first before it continued on television?

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