When Jimmy Fallon takes over Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk spot next year, the first place you’ll be able to find him is online. Lorne Michaels, who runs Saturday Night Live and is executive producer of Late Night, told the New York Times he would launch Fallon’s version of the show on the web first in advance of its televised debut next spring.
According to Michaels, the online advance version of the show will be web-sized to roughly 5 – 10 minutes, and will almost be like training pants for Fallon. The show will be released nightly at 12:30 a.m. to get people used to that schedule, and will allow Fallon to find his groove with the new gig while being more experimental.
The network has basically set up its own farm team. Rather than plucking an Internet personality from obscurity, it’s taking a known TV personality and putting him on the web with the sole purpose of fine-tuning and building an audience for his eventual TV show. That’s a good strategy to get instant feedback on the new talent and adjust accordingly (and quickly).