“Late Night” Star And Huge TV Fan Jimmy Fallon Hosts Television’s Biggest Night

Jimmy Fallon
Last year, Jimmy Fallon and his staff won an Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media — Nonfiction for The Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Digital Experience at nbc.com. This year, first-time Emmy host Fallon plans to incorporate much of that same interactive, digital expertise that marks his Late Night series into what he hopes will be a “big party” that celebrates television when the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards airs live Aug. 29 on NBC.

“People should have their laptops by them while they watch the show,” Fallon says. “We’re going to try to get as interactive as we possibly can, with Twitter … [and] teaming up with Ustream to do a live stream backstage so that people can say in real time, ‘Hey, I like this part you did’ or ‘Hey, can you give a shout-out to blah-blah?’

“The truth is, at the end of the night, 85 percent of the audience is going to be losers, let’s be honest. There’s a handful of winners. So you’ve got to make it fun, because the majority of your audience will not win. So [make sure] everyone just has a good time, and don’t take it so serious. … It should be a big party. I’m trying to think of different ideas to bring to it. I have a big presence online; I think that will help. It will help bring a different angle to some audience that probably wouldn’t normally watch the Emmys.”

Fallon is excited as he talks about what he and his creative team, which includes a handful of Late Night writers, have come up with for the ceremony.

“We already have too many ideas,” he laughs. “We actually came up with a bunch of ideas, and the producers are like, ‘OK, great. We need time to give out awards, so you have to cut down your ideas.’ We’re ready to go. I want to host it tomorrow!”

His excitement is not surprising after he explains his love of the Emmys, and television.

“I’m a huge fan of television, and just the whole business,” he says. “The Emmys is where you celebrate not just the stars, but also the writers, the producers of these shows that we all love. … I’ve watched the Emmys my whole life. We always had Emmy parties at my house. I love the Emmys because television’s such a big part of our lives. It’s in our homes. If you look at the people who have hosted in the past, like Johnny Carson, Letterman … it’s a cool list to be on.”

As Fallon, who has also hosted the MTV Movie Awards and the MTV Video Music Awards, reflects on the history that comes with the Emmys, we were wondering if that might change his approach — or the approach that producers give him — when it comes to hosting this big event.

“No one’s really given me instructions,” he says. “We have great producers. We’re celebrating television, so it’s totally different than any show I’ve hosted before. So I’m going to concentrate on the new shows that we all love, like Modern Family, Glee, Parks and Recreation, stuff like that. And also these shows that are no longer with us after this year, like Law & Order, 24, Lost. As well as the people who are nominated. It’s all these talented people in one room. [As host,] you can play with all these people — how fun is that? Hopefully, I’ll work with a bunch of people from different shows and just really embrace all of television, not just late night or NBC.”

Speaking of NBC late night, Fallon says he expects Late Night will be in repeats about two weeks before he hosts the Emmys, and then return the Monday after with a “best of” program.

“I’m going to focus my energy into [the Emmys],” Fallon says. “Make sure that works first, and then I’ll concentrate back on what we’re going to do on Late Night.”

Although the Emmy nominations had not been announced at the time of our conversation, as a fan of television, Fallon is in tune with what he thinks some of the favorites — or at least his favorites — might be.

“I think Glee really did a great job. They did something totally different and they deserve credit for that. … Saturday Night Live I think is an amazing show. I think it deserves more credit than it gets. It’s one of the few live shows on television, besides sports. I don’t know what else to compare it to. People are just so used to it working that they don’t realize how much hard work it is. No one else is doing it. That goes to show how hard it is — no one else is doing it. They can’t. I just don’t understand how that doesn’t win awards every year, but maybe I’m nuts. Mad Men is always cool. AMC has a bunch of cool shows this year. USA has done some great stuff, [like] Burn Notice. … There’s True Blood, Vampire Diaries … there’s so much great TV out there. It’s a great year for television. It couldn’t be a better year to host, because there’s so much great television out there.”