Hapless host Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show is losing the ratings war to FOX News rival Greg Gutfeld — and the TV flop’s sinking number has left NBC brass with buyer’s remorse, RadarOnline.com has learned.
Nearly 19 months after the Peacock Network handed Fallon a whopping $80 million five-year contract extension, The Tonight Show is drawing under 1.3 million eyeballs — less than half the audience of upstart Gutfeld!
But that number is even more shocking when compared to Fallon’s celebrated debut! The Saturday Night Live alum, 48, chalked up an impressive 11 million viewers when he first took over for outgoing legend Jay Leno — but now he’s also being bested in the ratings by Stephen Colbert’s CBS Late Show!
A source said NBC regrets the funnyman’s pricey long-term deal and added, “The network knows the days are gone when tens of millions of people would tune in for The Tonight Show — but they were counting on Jimmy to do better than this!”
Meanwhile, Fallon has attracted 30 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, which shows snippets of the chatfest’s segments. But a tipster pointed out, “That really doesn’t drive up ad rates for the regular show — and the network doesn’t want The Tonight Show to exist just to feed YouTube.”
Another insider insisted Jimmy’s ratings are solid but another source added, “There have already been shake-ups in the production staff, and even with Jimmy’s contract, he isn’t immune. NBC would buy him out if they believe they can find another host who can deliver more viewers.”
Fallon has a bit of competition coming his way in the late-night field after Trevor Noah stepped down as host of The Daily Show. This week it was announced that Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman, Leslie Jones, Wanda Sykes, and D.L. Hughley will all be guest hosts in the next couple of weeks.
The network will make a decision on the next host based on the guest’s performance. Handler has been gunning for the role.
“That’s a great gig. So I want to go do that and see how that feels. And it’s gonna feel awesome because I’m gonna crush it. Because I love this stuff. I love the news, I love pop culture, I love combining it all with smart personalities, bringing on comedians like I did on Chelsea Lately, that roundtable aspect where you can have voices—more than a singular voice, more than one man speaking on behalf of women,” she said in a recent interview.