Jimmy Fallon has Friday on his mind.
Fallon’s “Tonight Show” will, starting this evening, try out a few weeks of “hybrid” Friday shows. On Friday broadcasts from July 20 to August 17, NBC will air “Tonight Show” broadcasts featuring an original monologue and Fallon’s popular “Thank You Notes” segments along with celebrity interviews that have aired in the past. NBC says “Tonight” will resume full original episodes on Fridays after Labor Day.
“Tonight” isn’t the first to test the idea. Last summer, CBS’ “Late Show” tested similar hybrid broadcasts on Fridays, combining fresh segments early in the broadcast with recent interviews between guests and the show’s host,, Stephen Colbert. This summer, “Late Show” is airing full original broadcasts on Fridays, according to a spokeswoman for the program. Tonight’s broadcast is scheduled to feature an interview with and performance by Janelle Monae.
Both shows’ efforts suggest late-night producers see other uses for the end of the week. Working on a late-night series is akin to running a marathon. The programs are in constant need of fresh material – jokes, stunts, field pieces and more. To give Colbert, Fallon and their staffs a bit of a break, and free staff to focus on other program elements, both “Late Show” and “Tonight” typically tape two broadcasts on Thursdays. David Letterman did the same thing during much of his CBS tenure.
The two shows are among a dwindling number of TV’s late-night series featuring an original or mostly original Friday broadcast. Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” does not air originals on Fridays, nor does TBS’s “Conan.” ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” typically does not run new Friday broadcasts. NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and CBS’ “Late Late Show with James Corden” use repeats to fill their Friday slots. The weekly programs – TBS’ “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” BET’s “The Rundown With Robin Thede” and HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver – have used Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, respectively to air originals.
For one host, however, Fridays serve as the start of a conversation about the week. Bill Maher’s “Real Time” airs on Friday nights during most of the year.