Jimmy Fallon may have scored the biggest win at Sunday night’s Primetime Emmys.
Fallon earned strong marks as host of the kudocast, thanks in particular to the show’s opening number — in which he performed Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” along with Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, several “Glee” cast members and other stars.
Those good reviews — along with a slight audience uptick from last year’s Emmycast — might now translate to new viewers for NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”
“Late Night’s” Monday night repeat may have already experienced a bit of an Emmy boost, beating a first-run “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” among adults 18-49 in the nation’s 25 local people meter markets.
But if “Late Night” gets a lift from the Emmys, it will be no thanks to the Peacock’s web site.
That’s because NBC and the TV Academy didn’t secure the rights to repurpose the Springsteen song online. As a result, viewers who wanted to catch Fallon’s Emmy opener have been forced to find pirated versions, of which there are many, on YouTube and other sites.
“That could have been worth 500,000 hits on NBC.com,” Fallon told Daily Variety on Tuesday. “People are looking for it. We worked so hard on it and it’s our own network, and it’s a good commercial for our network. It’s so simple, just pay for it.”
Besides that Springsteen opening number, Fallon was also lauded for his comedic tribute to retiring shows “24,” “Law & Order” and “Lost,” which he did in character as Elton John, Boyz II Men and Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.
But because NBC didn’t secure rights for the songs that Fallon parodied, that clip also hasn’t made it online (at least legally).
If it’s any consolation for Fallon, NBC and the TV Academy haven’t attempted to remove those unauthorized YouTube uploads. Yet.
Video of Fallon’s Emmy opener, added to YouTube by “The Gleek Channel,” repped the video service’s most-watched entertainment clip as of Tuesday — having been screened nearly 500,000 times. (And since NBC didn’t upload it, the network doesn’t have to pay the song rights.)
Fallon’s no stranger to awards shows, having hosted MTV kudocasts in the past. But the Primetime Emmys were seen as a coming out party for the host, who took the reins of “Late Night” just 17 months ago. Critics weren’t initially thrilled with the Conan O’Brien replacement — particularly after Fallon’s lackluster feature career.
But the host’s nice-guy persona, youthful enthusiasm and his show’s litany of well-produced “Late Night” packages (such as “Lost” parody “Late,” “Glee” parody “6-Bee” and the host’s take on morose “Twilight” star Robert Pattinson) won them over.
It’s rare for an awards show clip to still attract so much interest two days after the fact. That’s perhaps a good sign for Fallon, who was back in production on Tuesday at “Late Night,” with guests Drew Barrymore and Snoop Dogg.
“The reviews were great,” Fallon said of the Emmy reactions. “I wish they were this kind to my movie career. Our show is good, and I’m proud of it. This opens me up to a whole new audience. The Emmys were seen by six or seven times more people than my normal audience. This is giant for me.”
Fallon said he’s still tired from the Emmy gig — but couldn’t say no when Barrymore asked that Fallon stage a music-intensive comedy bit on Tuesday’s “Late Night.”
“My voice is gone, but I’m the happiest version of exhaustion that can exist,” he said.
If Fallon is disappointed at all with Sunday’s Emmycast, it’s because he didn’t get a chance to showcase a “Real Housewives” parody he and other “Late Night” scribes (including Amy Ozols) had written for the awards show. In the piece, which wasn’t shot, Fallon was to play both Alec Baldwin’s and Hugh Laurie’s wives.
“We just didn’t have the time,” Fallon said. “I showed it to (Emmy producer) Don Mischer, and he said, ‘This is great, but we have to give out 28 awards.’ I thought it was a shame. We had to scrap it for time.”
Nonetheless, Fallon said he was still proud of his Springsteen coup. After originally planning to tape the entire opening, Fallon decided to tape half of it but perform the other half live.
“It’s unbelievable,” Fallon said of Springsteen’s OK to use “Born to Run.” “I heard ‘Glee’ had tried before but he had said no. It was our number one choice.”
Fallon and “Late Night” exec producer Mike Shoemaker can now turn their full attention to “Late Night,” just in time for fall. According to Fallon, the talker plans to showcase a “Broadway Week” in September, including the world premiere of a new song (written by Bono and The Edge) from the upcoming “Spider-Man on Broadway” musical. And Robert Plant has just been added as an upcoming guest.
“I’m just keeping my head down,” Fallon said. “I’m so proud of my show and happy with the fact that more people might see it.”