In February of 2014, Jimmy Fallon’s debut of the Tonight Show on NBC’s network engaged 11.3 million viewers, making it the most viewed late-night show in years. Less than one year later, CEO of NBC Steve Burke announced today that Fallon’s inability to get along with his crew and the NBC executives has shockingly cost him his job as late night’s most coveted television host.
Earlier today in the announcement that seemed to shock the entire country, Burke explained that what viewers see on their televisions is the polar opposite of the man who Fallon was to the hard-working Tonight Show crew. There have been several rumors of verbal abuse and tantrums by Fallon, none of which anyone outside of the show seemed to believe. However, earlier this week, things apparently boiled over when Fallon was confronted by NBC executives Bob Greenblatt and Mark Lazarus.
“Out of respect to all involved in the ugly dispute, no details of the feud will be released publicly. We at NBC are as shocked as all of our loyal viewers. Ratings were higher than ever, it seemed like a match made in heaven from a viewer prospective, but what you did not see is the unprofessional demeanor which occurred behind the scenes.” Burke said, in an obviously shell-shocked and seemingly deflated manner.
Rumors began to circulate in just the past couple of weeks when it was uttered around the famed GE Building, which houses the new Tonight Show set, that Fallon had become extremely and verbally violent to his writing staff. One personal assistant, who asked to not to be named, told press members that Fallon had, on several occasions, said that she would be much more suited to ‘flip burgers at McDonald’s’ than to work for someone of his stature after she accidentally put mayonnaise on his sandwich instead of Miracle Whip. The story was buried by executives until others started to notice a change in Fallon’s demeanor. The writers’ meeting room, where Fallon met with his show writers every day, had become laden with several holes in the drywall due to Fallon’s explosive temper.
When Burke was asked about what happens next, he seemed as unsure as the stunned reporter that asked him.
“At this point, we have no idea who will replace Jimmy. We are still trying to soak in this terrible outcome. We simply do not have that answer.” Burke said. When asked about the chances Jay Leno returning, Burke simply replied, “I cannot answer that question. I cannot say its a possibility and I cannot say no. We never fathomed such events to transpire.”
His comments seemed to have led reporters to think that there would indeed be a meeting with Leno lined up. One reporter, Tanya Brown of the Hollywood Insider, asked Burke about the chances of Seth Myers stepping in for a sudden promotion.
“Such a promotion to an unproven, yet potentially brilliant late night talk show host, is very unlikely. We liked Seth where he is and intend to keep him there.” Burke said adamantly.
When asked about programming in the meantime, Burke commented that after this Friday, the show would go into rerun cycles. He also stated that NBC and Fallon had agreed to finish out the broadcasts for the week as if nothing at all has happened, and that there would be no on-air announcements or reactions, and that Fallon was bound by contract to not comment or even hint to the situation.