It was announced this morning that Jay Leno, longtime host of NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, will wrap up what will be 22 years of headlining the iconic late-night show in Spring 2014.
And replacing Leno, NBC revealed today, will be Jimmy Fallon, who currently hosts his own show on NBC, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Fallon will transition into new hosting duties on The Tonight Show franchise after Leno concludes his run a year from now.
So, the obvious question on many minds (in addition to whether Fallon will take The Roots with him) is, who will take over Fallon's Late Night slot?
According to the NBC press release, programming plans for the 12:35 am time period are currently in development and will be announced soon.
Of course, the major trades are tossing around a few names of potential comedians who might be candidates for that late night slot, and, not surprisingly, just about every name I've read has belonged to a candidate who is white and male, including Saturday Night Live cast member Seth Meyers. Fallon also began his TV career with Saturday Night Live in 1998, and, like Meyers, he also anchored SNL's Weekend Update (with Tina Fey), before getting his own late night show on NBC in March 2009.
Meyers seems to be THE favorite candidate right now, given all the reports I read this morning.
But I thought I'd take a quick survey to see what black comedians (male and female) you guys think should be given the opportunity, in light of the fact that the late night talk-show circuit (on broadcast network TV specifically - CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX primarily) isn't exactly swimming with black (or female) hosts.
Yes, Arsenio Hall is coming to CBS this fall, although his show will air at 10pm. But he's just one addition. NBC could do something *shocking* and actually announce that the next Late Night host, taking over for Fallon, will be of African descent.
So who would be on your short list?
To get you started, I'll throw out a few possible names: Chris Rock, Damon Wayans, Dave Chappelle, Wanda Sykes, D.L. Hughley, Chris Tucker, Aisha Tyler, Affion Crockett, Wayne Brady, W. Kamau Bell...
It'll likely have to be someone with some name recognition (no matter what skin color or gender they are), so I don't think any younger up-and-comers paying their dues currently will be up for the job. Although in an age when YouTube is creating stars practically overnight, some with huge followings (in the millions), about as much as a TV late night talk show would draw, anything is possible.
But don't just look at the names I mentioned; feel free to list any others who you think qualify for the job.