Jimmy Fallon’s “The Tonight Show” Premieres On NBC To Great Fanfare

Jimmy Fallon on NBC's Tonight Show

It would have been hard for him to disappoint us.  On February 17th, 2014 Jimmy Fallon delighted audiences with an altogether successful inauguration as the new host of NBC’s The Tonight Show.  Stepping into the shoes worn by Jay Leno for 22 of the past 23 years, Fallon may not have struck a perfect balance between nervousness and humility in his first night on the job, yet he won us over with his coy charm and genuine gratitude for the opportunity to star in America’s longest running entertainment program. With Fallon’s initiation, the show has returned from Los Angeles to New York City, its original home from 1954 to 1972.  This has allowed Fallon to remain nearby his hometown of Saugerties in upstate New York – which made it relatively convenient for his parents Jim and Gloria Fallon, who sat proudly in the studio audience, to attend the premiere.  In Fallon’s opening monologue, he introduced himself as a 39 year-old man who lives in New York City with his beautiful wife Nancy and six month-old daughter Winnie, who is the best thing to have ever happened to him.  All in all, he succeeded in presenting himself as a loveable family man to whom the American public can’t help but relate.


In one of the show’s more memorable bits, Fallon remarks that a buddy of his bet him $100 he would never host The Tonight Show.  Immediately, out walks an impressive procession of Hollywood stars and media icons, handing him $100: Robert DeNiro, Tina Fey, Joe Namath, Rudy Giuliani, Mariah Carey, Tracy Morgan, Joan Rivers, Kim Kardashian, Seth Rogen, Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mike Tyson, Lady Gaga, and finally, Stephen Colbert – who opted to spill 10,000 pennies over Fallon, including in his shirt.

In addition to being a major crowd pleaser, this episode served to contextualize Fallon as not only a nice young man, but one who must be really, incredibly cool to have so many famous friends show up for the occasion.  This also helped ground the new The Tonight Show amongst the particularly New York A-list.  Other celebrity appearances included Will Smith, who danced beside Fallon to demonstrate the ‘Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing,’ and U2, who played two songs in front of the New York skyline atop Rockefeller Center, harking back to the Beatles’ final concert on the rooftop of London’s Apple building in 1969.

Fallon’s premiere earned the third highest-ever ratings for The Tonight Show, with 11.3 million viewers tuning in.  The second highest was in May 2009 when Jay Leno stepped down as host for Conan O’Brien’s famously short-lived run, before Leno returned to the position one year later.  The highest was this past February 6th, when Leno retired for apparently the final time (14.6 million people watched).  Fallon’s debut likely benefited from its post-Winter Olympics placement, though that pushed it a half hour later than its regular 11:35pm timeslot.  In comparison to Fallon’s final episode of Late Night, which he hosted for 5 years, his The Tonight Show ratings were higher by 71 percent with an additional 6.6 million viewers.

Jimmy Fallon and Steven Colbert on The Tonight Show

These statistics do not necessarily include all the viewers of segments on YouTube, Hulu, or NBC’s own website.  One of Fallon’s best qualities is his ability to create share-worthy clips that are hilarious out of context, often which make serious people do silly things.  Still, for Fallon to stay atop his game in this new The Tonight Show job, he will need to appeal to the show’s middle-aged Middle America audience, while maintaining his viral fascination.  After all, the argument for Conan O’Brien to step down in 2010 so soon after beginning his tenure was that he had terminally narrow appeal, failing to please the older demographic.  Still, in just four years, our entire culture has become much more YouTube-centric, and perhaps Fallon’s internet-friendly strategy will be enough to keep him afloat.


Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 2/16/2014

New York City keeps getting pummeled with snow and cold temperatures, but the freeze seems to be thawing at Broadway box offices. Total revenue increased considerably this week, with Broadway ticket sales jumping from last week’s $17,841,889 up to $21,192,762 this week.

Despite the Bard’s enduring popularity, it’s not often that Broadway productions of Shakespearean plays are certifiable hits, but the double bill of Richard III and Twelfth Night featuring Mark Rylance earned raves from critics and big bucks from audiences. Both plays closed this weekend, and enjoyed sold out performances and average ticket prices of $110.02 for their final week on Broadway.

The brand new musical version of the classic Sylvester Stallone flick Rocky began preview performances on Broadway this week. Though it has yet to prove itself a box office champ, the boxing-themed show is off to a promising start, selling at 84.97% capacity with an average paid admission of $95.69.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending February 16, 2014:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $471,751 5,497 75.76% $85.82
AFTER MIDNIGHT $619,847 6,870 82.89% $90.23
ALL THE WAY $770,789 8,188 71.67% $94.14
BEAUTIFUL $901,903 7,497 91.34% $120.30
BRONX BOMBERS $177,559 3,844 62.57% $46.19
CHICAGO $571,596 6,380 73.84% $89.59
CINDERELLA $896,903 10,384 74.13% $86.37
JERSEY BOYS $725,805 6,499 66.15% $111.68
KINKY BOOTS $1,431,140 10,243 89.91% $139.72
MACHINAL $216,017 3,763 64.70% $57.41
MAMMA MIA! $550,858 6,908 74.06% $79.74
MATILDA $1,146,444 10,340 90.26% $110.87
MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL $1,197,720 10,977 91.05% $109.11
NEWSIES $748,187 8,910 93.99% $83.97
NO MAN’S LAND/WAITING FOR GODOT $606,324 6,544 76.23% $92.65
ONCE $665,473 6,304 74.41% $105.56
OUTSIDE MULLINGAR $362,896 4,916 94.54% $73.82
PIPPIN $717,058 6,277 79.26% $114.24
ROCK OF AGES $369,131 4,027 86.34% $91.66
ROCKY $373,672 3,905 84.97% $95.69
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,705,114 8,752 102.63% $194.83
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY $348,594 6,424 78.80% $54.26
THE GLASS MENAGERIE $531,602 5,520 88.69% $96.30
THE LION KING $1,570,787 13,304 97.82% $118.07
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $766,994 9,164 71.37% $83.70
TWELFTH NIGHT/RICHARD III $944,755 8,587 102.13% $110.02
WICKED $1,803,846 13,810 95.43% $130.62
Totals: $21,192,762 203,834 82.78% $98.76

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2013 nytix.com

Broadway Understudy Documentary Coming Soon to Theaters

The StandbysThe life of an understudy is unknown to most people, but soon that will change with the new documentary, The Standbys. The film about Broadway understudies will be released in movie theaters starting February 21.

The Standbys follows three Broadway actors: Ben Crawford (standby in Shrek the Musical and Big Fish); Merwin Foard (standby for Gomez in The Addams Family); and Alena Watters (standby for Anita in the West Side Story revival).

In addition to following those three understudies “through their ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, onstage performances and private lives,” The Standbys also includes interviews with a number of Broadway luminaries, such as David Hyde Pierce, Zachary Quinto, Bebe Neuwirth, Sutton Foster, Brian d’Arcy James, Katie Finneran, and Cheyenne Jackson.

To learn more, visit www.TheStandbys.com.

Peter Pan Musical To Be Aired Live on TV

Peter PanIn the wake of the massive ratings success of NBC’s live production of The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood, the network has tapped producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan to replicate their success with another live musical event later this year.

The next event will be the live broadcast of a production of the musical adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s play Peter Pan, which has lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and music by Jule Styne and Moose Charlap. Originally produced on Broadway in 1954 with Mary Martin playing Peter Pan, this version features well-known songs like “I Won’t Grow Up” and “I’m Flying”.

“We hope to create the joy that has made this musical so beloved,” stated Meron and Zadon. “We would like a whole new generation to experience Peter Pan and for families across the country to share the magic.”

Casting has not yet been announced for NBC’s live airing of Peter Pan, but the broadcast is scheduled to air on December 4, 2014.

King Kong to Take the Foxwoods Following Spider-Man’s Closure

King KongIt seems that the Foxwoods Theatre on 42nd Street can’t get enough of multi-millionaire-dollar mega-musicals. After it was announced that the infamous spectacle Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark would be closing (the superhero musical shuttered on January 4), it became known that another well-known figure — King Kong — wanted to move in.

The new musical King Kong, which had its premiere in Melbourne, Australia, will come to Broadway late this year, with an opening scheduled for December 12, 2014. Written by Craig Lucas and Marius de Vries, King Kong brings the story of a gigantic silverback who gets loose in the city to the Broadway stage.

And if Spider-man, with its high-flying theatrics, seemed like a stage spectacle, King Kong is perhaps even more epic. The show features a cast of 49, a 76-person crew, and one enormous animatronic gorilla. The Foxwoods Theatre is one of the few Broadway theaters that is actually large enough to take on this colossal production.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 2/9/2014

Following a depressing Super Bowl Week low-point in overall Broadway revenue last week, ticket sales on the Great White Way have risen by more than a million dollars, increasing from $16,714,694 to $17,841,889. While the bump up is encouraing, New York City is still mired in the midst of a very cold, snowy winter, so it is too soon to get optimistic that Broadway sales will continue to rise.

At 74.01% theater capacity, the last night of A Night with Janis Joplin on Broadway wasn’t a standing-room only crowd, but the rollicking musical revue still went out with decent sales in its last week, bringing in $78.63 average paid admission. Though A Night with Janis Joplin is no longer on Broadway, producers have already announced their intention to find another venue for the rockin’, blues-infused musical.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending February 9, 2014:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $452,612 5,498 75.77% $82.32
A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN $342,185 4,352 74.01% $78.63
AFTER MIDNIGHT $647,925 7,426 89.60% $87.25
BEAUTIFUL $832,495 7,460 90.89% $111.59
BRONX BOMBERS $134,027 4,261 69.35% $31.45
CHICAGO $394,400 5,148 59.58% $76.61
CINDERELLA $633,396 7,937 56.66% $79.80
JERSEY BOYS $618,954 6,485 66.01% $95.44
KINKY BOOTS $1,284,663 10,607 93.11% $121.11
MACHINAL $215,339 3,583 61.61% $60.10
MAMMA MIA! $419,553 5,732 61.45% $73.19
MATILDA $926,219 10,243 89.41% $90.42
MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL $1,005,080 9,864 81.82% $101.89
NEWSIES $602,699 7,697 81.19% $78.30
NO MAN’S LAND/WAITING FOR GODOT $551,720 6,284 73.21% $87.80
ONCE $587,345 6,489 76.59% $90.51
OUTSIDE MULLINGAR $331,915 4,842 93.12% $68.55
PIPPIN $624,252 6,398 80.78% $97.57
ROCK OF AGES $321,202 3,842 82.38% $83.60
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,608,197 8,752 102.63% $183.75
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY $377,124 5,585 68.51% $67.52
THE GLASS MENAGERIE $466,556 5,017 80.61% $92.99
THE LION KING $1,397,103 13,313 97.89% $104.94
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $659,176 9,029 70.32% $73.01
TWELFTH NIGHT/RICHARD III $914,033 8,585 102.11% $106.47
WICKED $1,493,721 13,992 96.68% $106.76
Totals: $17,841,889 188,421 79.82% $89.68

*Broadway Grosses courtesy of The Broadway League

A Night with Janis Joplin Closes on Broadway

A Night with Janis JoplinThe bluesy, rockin’ musical revue A Night with Janis Joplin, starring Mary Bridget Davies in the title role, concludes its run at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway today. However, don’t expect the bio-musical to be gone for long — there are already plans to move it to another theater.

“We are tremendously proud of this show, and excited about the many people who want to see A Night with Janis Joplin in New York. We are finalizing a wonderful option to move to another venue in New York City,” stated producers Michael Cohl, Todd Gershwin, and Daniel Chilewich. “A Night with Janis Joplin receives four standing ovations nightly and continues to play to captivated crowds on Broadway. We know that the music and the story of Janis Joplin deserve to live on.”

Both directed and written by Randy Johnson, A Night with Janis Joplin opened on Broadway on October 10.

Broadway Musical Taboo Stages Reunion Concert

TabooThe beloved but relatively short-lived Broadway pop musical Taboo, which played the Great White Way in 2003, is holding a 10th Anniversary reunion concert tonight and tomorrow at the club 54 Below. There will be two performances of the reunion concert on February 7 at 8pm and 11pm and again on February 8 at 8pm and 11pm.

Produced by Rosie O’Donnell, Taboo was the biographical tale of Boy George and the ’80s London club scene, and even co-starred Boy George himself in the role of Leigh Bowery. The reunion show will feature several original cast members from the Broadway production of Taboo, including Jeffrey Carlson, Cary Shields, Liz McCartney, and Sarah Uriarte Berry.

John McDaniel, Taboo’s original music director on Broadway, will also provide music direction for the concert. Proceeds from the event will go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.  Click here for more information.

Spring Training Comes Early for the Yankees on Broadway

Bronx BombersIt’s early yet for baseball season, but fans of America’s great past time can get a little taste of the game on the Broadway stage over at the Circle in the Square Theatre, where the new play Bronx Bombers opens tonight. Written and directed by Eric Simonson, the play focuses on one of the sport’s most famed franchises, the New York Yankees.

Bronx Bombers, which was first seen Off-Broadway at Primary Stages last year, takes audiences on a trip through Yankees history by looking at the team through the eyes of one of its icons, Yogi Berra.  Actor Peter Scolari plays Yogi opposite his real-life wife Tracy Shayne as Yogi’s wife Carmen.  Christopher Jackson, Keith Nobbs, Bill Dawes, Henry Coffey, Francois Battiste, John Wernke, and C.J. Wilson co-star.

Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, and Derek Jeter are among the New York Yankees legends who are represented onstage in Bronx Bombers as the show examines both the triumphs and the troubles that the team encounters over the years.  For fans who can’t wait for baseball season to start, this may be the ideal Broadway show to tide them over until spring training.

Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis Planning NYC Cooking TV Show

Bobby Flay and fellow Food Network star, Giada DeLaurentiisCelebrity chef Bobby Flay and fellow Food Network star, Giada De Laurentiis are developing a new TV show in New York City, currently working-titled as “Flay’s Fillet” or “Giada DeLicious” or just “Gastro Garage”.

Sources indicate that “Gastro Garage” is a cross between “Live, with Kelly & Michael”  and Emeril Legasse’s “Emeril Live” – so, the show pitches hot topics in between cooking segments appealing to ‘MasterChef’ quality cooks. What is interesting is that both shows it’s modeled after contain the word “live” in their title- suggesting that “Gastro Garage” is going to be very live, complete with kitchen accidents, which sadly, Giada is no stranger to.

The show’s format seems to be distancing itself from the dumbed-down cooking approach that Rachael Ray and the Barefoot Contessa have provided to viewers looking for cooking-meets-lifestyle TV shows, with dishes easy enough that even the Kardashians could master. “Gastro Garage” will be going after seasoned chefs that will know the difference between a whisk and a colander and don’t need to be told about either. Comparatively, another TV show “The Kitchen” currently provides the high road for gastro fans, but lacks the electricity that exists between Flay and De Laurentiis that clearly transfers to TV beautifully – well in the TV pilot at least.

The show celebrates the collaboration between Flay’s New American style to cooking and De Laurentiis’s classic Italian approach. In the recently shot pilot, some sparks did fly on the set, with De Laurentiis setting fire to the souffle and the fire extinguisher was needed to calm the flames and the stars’ nerves. It’s expected that guest stars on the show will include many of Flay’s and Giada’s celebrity friends including John Mayer, Drake, Tyson Beckford, and Matt Lauer.

It’s rumored that the show will operate out of Emeril’s old Food Network studio in the Chelsea Market- this being an ideal central location for TV audiences to travel to and a wonderful array of fresh produce available in the food market below the studio. When Flay “runs out” of black pepper, it’s anticipated that he will run down to the market with a camera and shoot the whole scene of choosing the perfect black pepper to adorn his culinary creation, all while talking lifestyle and politics. And all of it live.

No deal is in place yet with a production company, but it will almost certainly will be shot out of New York City given that the Flay restaurants need Bobby to continue to steer the ship; Bar Americain, Mesa Grill, Bobby’s Burger Palace, and his new NOHO project, Gato, all need the captain at hand. Giada lives and works in NYC and given that she has a family here too, she has no intention of spending weeks away in Hollywood shooting the show, even the cost savings to The Food Network are huge..

Giada has a huge following herself with her “Giada at Home” show on Food network, her Academia Barilla premium pasta line, and her huge food and homeware deal with Target. She won a daytime Emmy award in 2008 for outstanding lifestyle host and she has become a mentor to the Food Network’s other up-and-coming chefs. Originally trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, De Laurentiis famously cut her finger on a live TV show on Thanksgiving 2013 and then started feeling dizzy. She starting losing copious amounts of blood and passed out off-set. A couple of hours later she was all stitched up and ready to shoot the next show. She also has written a children’s book and loves to spend time with her husband, Todd Thompson, and her daughter Jade.

Flay is no stranger to TV either. As well as his Iron Chef appearances he did a stint on HBO’s Entourage where he played Mrs. Ari Gold’s love interest. His restaurant was also featured in the show. He reportedly received no payment for this appearance, but his businesses received a great deal of publicity.