Making a difference with Seth Meyers in 'Late Night' chair
By David Bauder, AP
February 23, 2014, 12:06 am TWN
PASADENA, California -- The difference between Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers in the days before their first talk shows began is evident in what they spent the most time on, said the man who guided both programs to birth. With Fallon, who took over “Late Night” in 2009, it was the performance. Meyers worries about the writing.
Producer Mike Shoemaker's observation is worth remembering as NBC's new late-night lineup settles in.
Fallon, the new “Tonight” host, and Meyers, who takes over in the 12:30 a.m. “Late Night” slot starting Monday, are known more for their similarities. Both are in Lorne Michaels' orbit, came to be known through “Saturday Night Live” and hosted that show's topical “Weekend Update” before moving to weeknights. They work in the same building.
Their success moving forward will hinge on shaping their own personalities — and identities — for shows that NBC hopes will run back-to-back in late-night for years to come.
“They're actually rather complementary of each other,” said Paul Telegdy, NBC West Coast executive in charge of late-night. “People say, 'Aren't they two versions of the same thing?' They couldn't be more different.”
Fallon's persona is energetic and goofy, with a gift for music and mimicry and an ability to guide celebrities into poking fun at themselves. Meyers, 40, is more cerebral and topical, and he enjoys playing the straight man.
He knows his strengths. “I mean, I'd like to be up there with Bruce Springsteen,” Meyers said of Fallon's occasional duet partner, “but no one else would enjoy it.”