It will be the latest in a string of major awards shows to be guided by late-night hosts. ABC is handing the Oscar reins to Jimmy Kimmel, who had also hosted the Primetime Emmys last September for the network, while James Corden, who hosted the Tonys for CBS last June, is on board for the Grammys.
But while Kimmel and Corden have hosted top-drawer awards shows on multiple occasions (as did other late-night hosts including Conan O’Brien and Jon Stewart before them), this is only Fallon’s second major awards show gig, and his first since guiding the Primetime Emmys on NBC in 2010.
“Jimmy Fallon in primetime is pretty rare game,” says Paul Telegdy, NBC’s president of alternative and reality, who also oversees the network’s numerous specials. “He doesn’t do bundles of stuff in primetime, and I think that creates an excitement and anticipation for him. I know our audience is going to be extremely excited to see him.”
The choice of Fallon also represents a big departure for the Globes following Ricky Gervais, who along with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler had combined to lead the past seven shows.
Fallon was host of NBC’s “Late Night” in 2010 when he hosted the Emmys, earning strong reviews for a performance that opened with a memorable six-minute filmed “Born to Run” parody skit featuring the cast of “Glee.” His profile has grown significantly since then as host of “The Tonight Show,” the most popular late-night program on television.
“It’s an obvious choice for our company because he’s so stinking good at it and is such an adored talent on our air,” Telegdy says. “It was a difficult choice for Jimmy, though, because it’s an incredibly hard job to take on when he’s in the middle of producing his show every night for us.”
Barry Adelman, a longtime producer of the Globes telecast for Dick Clark Prods., says while Fallon may be relatively new to the awards-show hosting job, his experience on “Tonight” as well as his years on “Saturday Night Live” have prepared him well.
“With both Tina and Amy, and now Jimmy, we have graduates of the ‘Saturday Night Live’ school of comedy and broadcasting,” he says. “It gives these people a tremendous self-confidence that they can handle anything or come up with an idea at the last moment.
“It’s great to have a spontaneous host, and Jimmy certainly fits that bill.”
Adelman says the Golden Globes have evolved tremendously in the short time since 2010, when Gervais became the show’s first host during its years on NBC. Until then, each presenter would hand the baton to the next.
“I was worried at first because it was a very fast-paced event when we did it that way, but we really have not lost any of that pacing,” he notes. “Especially in today’s cluttered media environment, a host like the ones we’ve had focuses the attention of the show for the viewers.”
It’s unclear just how much Fallon will reach into what Adelman calls his “Tonight Show” bag-of-tricks — think celebrity games, TV series parodies or thank-you-notes — but he expects the energy and sensibilities of the weeknight program to transfer well to an event like the Golden Globes.
“Jimmy is so multi-dimensional, and I will expect that of the hosts we’ve had, he’s certainly the most musical,” Adelman says. “He likes to move around and he’s a bundle of energy, and I think we’re going to see that this year at the Globes.”
For the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which annually hosts the Golden Globes, Fallon made sense as a host choice in part because of his global appeal. “The Tonight Show” can be seen around the world in places including Australia, the U.K., India, and Africa.
“From Europe to South America, people know and follow him,” says HFPA president Lorenzo Soria. “I was recently in China and mentioned that Jimmy was hosting this year, and people got very excited.
“We are proud to have him as our host. He can be funny, but also deep when needed. I think he will be perfect for the spirit of the Golden Globes.”
Fallon began promoting the Golden Globes shortly after Thanksgiving with a spot featuring “Tonight Show” bandleader Questlove and some holiday lights that spell out “Golden Globes.” But when a fuse is blown, they’re left with “Old Globs” instead.
NBC’s Telegdy says the network will continue to promote the event during its holiday specials and numerous NFL games. As for the show itself, he remains tight-lipped. “But I can tell you that people will see an exceedingly refreshing Golden Globes because he’s going to be doing things that have never been done before.”