‘The Tonight Show’: Is Jimmy Fallon Really in Danger of Losing His Job?

Rumors are going around that Jimmy Fallon, the host of the Tonight Show, is worried about his job security. But, is there any truth to them?

Ratings in the world of late-night TV have never been more competitive. With a broader spectrum of talent across the late-night universe — cable included — it’s becoming impossible to grade them based on ability to make audiences laugh.

All late-night hosts are doing a good job of satirizing our president and all other news. However, there does seem to be personal preferences based on what audiences are in a mood for the last couple of years.

Stephen Colbert has cut into Jimmy Fallon’s ratings, which reportedly made The Tonight Show host nervous he could lose his job. Are Fallon’s worries valid, or just pure nerves from a more cutthroat TV ratings game?

NBC executives are worried about Jimmy Fallon’s vices

Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon | Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

One of the first concerns from NBC was something seemingly more benign: Fallon seemed to be accident prone. Most of you probably remember when Jimmy broke his ring finger a few years ago after an accident in his NYC apartment.

Viewers had to see him wear a bandage on his finger for most of that year, though hardly the only accident Fallon had. He also chipped his tooth during another oddball accident in his home. A few other minor incidents have occurred as well, which reportedly worried NBC executives.

Things have calmed after the finger incident. Then there was another major concern from execs: Jimmy might have had a drinking problem. Rumors have permeated Fallon doesn’t handle alcohol well, if hardly the first late-night host to have the same problem.

Johnny Carson also had a drinking problem

Let’s go back in time about 40 years to when Johnny Carson was hosting The Tonight Show. If any of you were alive then, you probably remember reports of Carson being an alcoholic as well. Most of this was kept quiet other than admittance by the host in a 60 Minutes interview about how he couldn’t handle alcohol without turning into a monster.

This all came to a head when Carson was arrested for drunk driving in 1982. He spent one night in jail, paid a fine, and was given probation. Some might have thought this was a slap on the wrist at the time. Fortunately, Carson controlled his drinking and nobody even thought about it by the time he retired an icon in 1992.

Fallon could have a similar trajectory with proper attention to his own vices. In short, Fallon’s vices don’t have to ruin his legacy and career.

Rumors saying Jimmy Fallon’s worried about his job have been debunked

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s look at those new rumors about Fallon supposedly being fearful NBC execs will fire him just because Colbert sometimes hits No. 1. Gossip Cop went after Radar Online recently for false reporting on NBC executives supposedly being unhappy with Fallon’s performance. It’s a shame an entertainment site would make up such things, so we give kudos to Gossip Cop for calling them out (again).

In the above report, they say the truth is Fallon isn’t worried or desperate on how to raise his ratings. If you look at the truth of the show’s ratings, the variations between Tonight and Colbert’s Late Show aren’t wide. Plus, Fallon is still pulling in a significant portion of the 18-49 demographic.

With truths like this, we still have to believe Fallon has had a few concerns, particularly related to the Trump factor.

If Trump loses in 2020, Fallon may be No. 1 again

Many have said Colbert hitting No. 1 most of the time is because he’s become the master at roasting President Trump. There isn’t any arguing Colbert’s show truly went back to a Colbert Report glory when Trump was elected.

Once Trump is gone, perhaps most audiences will gravitate back to Fallon for a feel-good party again like late-night used to be. Fallon’s prior controversy of having Trump on as a guest during the election may be history thanks to audience memories forgetting about most things after five years.