FALLON’S RATINGS SUCCESS PROMPTS NBC TO STRONG HOLD STARS
There is good news and bad news in the talk show arena. The good news is for Jimmy Fallon. His successful ratings have breathed new life into The Tonight Show, so much so, that NBC has begun demanding exclusivity in order for A list guests to appear on the late night program. The bad news is that other talk shows are going to have a difficult time getting these guests to appear on their lineups. This moratorium on appearing on other shows doesn’t only include the late night circuit but also the morning talk shows.
For Press Agents this is also bad news. Whenever a star releases a film, a book or is featured on a new television series it is typical to do a press junket. This allows the star to be seen on as many talk shows as possible to promote their newest venture. NBC’s proposal will alter the entire method used by press agents to get their stars media attention. It is interesting to note that by having The Tonight Show relocated to New York City the ability for stars to appear on multiple talk shows in a short period of time increased. When Jay Leno and Johnny Carson hosted in Los Angeles it required a cross country flight to be seen on Late Night with David Letterman. The unusual focus of NBC’s move was not to have first rights to a star appearance but to have all rights to a star appearance.
In August a foreshadowing of this type of exclusivity was evident on The Colbert Report when Daft Punk pulled out from the show due to an appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Stephen Colbert deftly skewered this type of move, noting that “once you see a band play a song you like, you obviously never want to see them again.” The sarcasm can be applied to the situation with NBC. It seems likely if you are a fan of George Clooney and he is on Jimmy Fallon you will still turn in if he is on The View. The fact is that these shows have different demographics, which is the reason public relations personnel are keen to promote on both programs. People who are watching at midnight are not often the people watching at 8 AM. Therefore, NBC demand seems to be an unreasonable reach of a non-compete for artists to adhere to.
The other unknown aspect of this new exclusive demand is that no one knows what will happen to an artist if they choose to ignore the exclusivity. Will Kim Kardashian never appear on The Tonight Show again if she goes on Late Night or The View after visiting Jimmy Fallon? As no one knows it will land on the artist and agents to decide this issue. Daft Punk chose not to appear on The Colbert Report but other artists may not adhere to such pressure. Only time and the ratings will tell.