“Late Night” and Emmy host Jimmy Fallon closes out NBC’s day at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. Can he liven up a room full of critics who have been here for 10 hours? Let’s see.
5:44 p.m. PT: There’s some dead air between an “Office” clip and Fallon’s arrival on stage. Not a good start.
5:47: Now we’re rolling. “Robert Is Bothered” FTW.
5:50: Obligatory “you’re too kind” joke to a roomful of non-applauding critics and reporters.
5:51: Nuttiest thing you’ve done so far? “I was a human celery stalk, and I jumped into the world’s largest bloody Mary. … It was a functioning bloody Mary too.”
5:52: Fallon says he’s gotten “almost no notes” regarding the Emmy broadcast so far — except that he has to give out awards. “It’s not the prime-time Jimmy show.”
5:55: He thinks he’s done pretty well living up to his promise to do a lot of online extensions of the show — a Twitter-related bit called “Hashtags” is the latest.
5:56: A critic asks about following Conan O’Brien’s final “Tonight Show.” Executive producer Mike Shoemaker says pouring out the 40 on Conan’s old stage while singing Boyz II Men “was the most heartfelt one.”
5:58: Fallon says he wasn’t really “in the mix” of the Leno-Conan debacle, so he just kept working “and looking for the next joke.” Shoemaker says it didn’t really affect the day-to-day of “Late Night.”
5:59: They’re not sure yet if the Roots will be part of the Emmy telecast, but he hopes so. Us too: We’d like to see them slow-jam the outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie.
6:01: The bits he gets celebrities to do — like having Mick Jagger hawk the KFC Double Down — have become a self-feeding machine: Stars see that and are more willing to get on board with other silliness.
6:03: Among the changes he would’ve made to his first show in March 2009: He would’ve made it cooler in the studio. “I was so dewy,” he says.
6:05: No one at either NBC or CBS seems too bothered by the lovefest between Fallon and Craig Ferguson. “We don’t feel the rivalry,” Shoemaker says, adding that it might be kind of a dated concept. (Note: Don’t tell David Letterman this.)
6:08: We now transition into talking about the Emmys. Referring to an earlier question, TV academy chairman John Shaffner denies that the academy is something like the Soviet Politburo. But wouldn’t the Politburo do that too?
6:11: The reality host category isn’t the in the prime-time ceremony this year. Exec producer Don Mischer notes that 27 awards will be handed out during the Aug. 29 telecast, and there’s just not room.
6:12: George Clooney > winning reality host. He’s getting the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award this year, and it’ll be televised as part of the Emmy ceremony. First time in several years that’s happened.
6:14: Fallon jokes that the Emmys also have to make room for the “host of the Emmys” award — “It’s the first one ever.”
6:15: How musical will this year’s Emmys be? Fallon says they’ve kicked around several musical ideas — “and we’ve booked J. Lo and Steven Tyler so far.”
6:18: Mischer says that even more than getting off the air on time, he hopes that he doesn’t have to play anyone off. Fallon says there will also be a Ustream feed for winners to continue their thank-yous online.
6:19: The Emmys will air live coast-to-coast this year — the first time that’s happened in 30 years, Mischer says — and lucky West Coasters will get to watch them twice in a row.
6:20: Would there ever be an ensemble acting award at the Emmys? Shaffner says it’s been discussed many times, but the challenge is deciding what shows can qualify and whether it’s going to be a “weird apples and oranges” thing where very different types of shows compete against each other. “It seems for right now, we’re probably going to let things be,” he says.
6:23: Shaffner’s guilty TV pleasure? Watching “I Love Lucy” at lunch, “to remind us why we all love television.” That doesn’t seem too guilty. Fallon notes that he’s a “Jersey Shore” fan — “I missed it last night; don’t tell me what happened.”
And that’s a wrap. The Emmys air Aug. 29 on NBC.
Photo credit: NBC