Lovey-Dovey, Game-Playing Hosts Reflect Late-Night Changes

A lovefest between two late-night foes Tuesday night on NBC’s “Password” is the latest evidence that late-night TV is not the competitive war zone that it once was.

As theorized by many -- and possibly accurately -- the competition in late-night today is played out in day-after viewing to the same degree, or more so, than the live-viewing duel of coinciding network time slots.

Or, maybe our current generation of late-night hosts -- in this case, late-night’s two Jimmies, Fallon and Kimmel -- simply sees more p.r. benefits in making nice than in coming across as take-no-prisoners competitors.



As a journalist on the TV beat, my opinion is that the latter is a lot more fun to write about than TV stars making nice-nice. But as always, the TV Blog surrenders to the inevitable passage of time.

“Password” is the game-show revival now in its second season on NBC. Jimmy Fallon is listed as an executive producer and his production company, Electric Hot Dog, is one of the producing entities. 

Fallon, 49, is on every show as one of the celebrity participants who pair off with non-celebrity civilians to guess the one-word “passwords” from one-word clues.

It just so happens that Kimmel, 56, is this week’s celebrity guest player, setting up a “Password” battle of late-night’s two Jimmies, which is how the show is introduced by host Keke Palmer (above photo, center, with Kimmel, right, and Fallon).

“Tonight, it’s the battle of the Jimmies!” says the exuberant Palmer, who then introduces the two.

“He’s the star of ‘The Tonight Show’ right here on NBC! Please welcome my man, Jimmy Fallon!

“And second, he’s hosted his show for over 20 years and is one of the best to ever do it! Please welcome Jimmy Kimmel!”

When Fallon and Kimmel each come on stage, they hug the civilian players and each other. Kimmel kisses Fallon on the cheek.

“The best to ever do it” is a great and generous compliment to pay to Kimmel, but it is also true that the intro omits the title of Kimmel’s show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” and the network that airs it, ABC.

The TV Blog watched the episode on Monday, compliments of NBC, and it turns out that “Password” is a very entertaining show. 

Fallon applies his sometimes child-like enthusiasm to just about every round of play and Palmer is very capable and alert to everything happening on her stage, which is one of the responsibilities of game-show hosting.

In the battle of the Jimmies, however, Kimmel demonstrates a quicker wit than Fallon.

However, neither Jimmy takes any shots at the other. In years past, this was not the case with others.

Every once in a while, David Letterman and Jay Leno would make mild jokes at each other’s expense.

But Kimmel at some point developed such a keen dislike of Leno that he blasted him again and again in his monologues and also in some public appearances.

But that was years ago, and Kimmel has been on for 21 years, making him the current elder statesman, in show years, in the time period. Stephen Colbert, 59, is older in human years, however.

Although it may be a duller era for writers of stories and commentaries about TV, unlike our world today, peace reigns in late-night TV.

“Password” with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel airs Tuesday night, March 26, at 10 Eastern on NBC.

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