Hard to believe the TV landscape has changed so much in just four and a half years since “The Tonight Show” went through its last (brief) host transition.
But the environment that Jimmy Fallon is diving into starting tonight is even more intense and more immediate — thanks to the bullhorn of social media — than what Conan O’Brien faced in his June 2009 premiere.
Scrolling through Twitter and Facebook, there’s an undeniable sense that bizzers are rooting for Fallon to succeed. “The Tonight Show” is more than a latenight television show — it’s an American institution, and Americans — even those who work in Hollywood — want their institutions to be healthy.
Here’s a sampling of the reaction to Fallon’s “Tonight Show” debut:
Looking forward to premiere of JIMMY FALLON'S TONIGHT SHOW Tonight, and tomorrow with guests Jerry Seinfeld, Kristen Wiig and Lady Gaga.—
George Shapiro (@georgeshapiro) February 18, 2014
I bet Jimmy Fallon could do a perfect Jimmy Fallon impersonation.—
Richard Roeper (@richardroeper) February 18, 2014
Just me or does the new Tonight Show set seem tiny and the set dec cheap looking?—
Shawn Ryan (@ShawnRyanTV) February 18, 2014
Congrats to Jimmy Fallon. Just 4,609 more episodes to go.—
Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) February 18, 2014
And just to underscore Fallon’s regular-guy image: