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Late-Night TV Wars Capture Cultural Snapshot

Dr_Zinj Wrote: Apr 05, 2013 7:47 AM
I heard someone say it best the other day. Jay Leno succeeded because he appealed to mainstream America. Conan failed to hold Leno's ratings because his "edgy" humor does not appeal to mainstream America. It's not that Conan isn't funny, but he's not funny enough to enough people. Whether Jimmy Fallon has, or can develop, the broadbased appeal of Johnny and Jay remains to be seen. At least his name begins with a "J".

Full disclosure: I am a child of the Johnny Carson era. That means I grew up with the sound of Johnny’s “Tonight Show” monologues in my ears, his sense of humor helping to shape my own.

It also means that when I talk about this, I endure the rolling eyes of anyone too young to remember his era, which ended with a May 1992 farewell.

We now see the end of the Jay Leno era on that show, as the news solidifies that he will be succeeded by Jimmy Fallon early next year.

Fallon, who has followed Leno’s show for...