Mailbag: Fallon’s billing; where’s Chris Cuomo?

By Rich Heldenfels Beacon Journal popular culture writer

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The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. (Photo by: James White/NBC)

You have questions. I try to have answers.

Q: For 22 years it has been “The Tonight Show ‘with’ Jay Leno.” I see on the promos it is becoming “The Tonight Show ‘starring’ Jimmy Fallon.” Why the change?

A: How to bill the host has varied during the series’ run. It was also “starring” when Johnny Carson was at the helm. Leno preferred a lower-key name, while Fallon sees “starring” as a nod to the show’s origins.

“We were looking at the different logos [from the past] it was always ‘starring Jack Paar,’ ‘starring Johnny Carson,’ ” Fallon said, according to Zap2it.com. “I like ‘starring.’ ”

This is not the only way Fallon will reboot the series, which marks its 60th birthday in September. Fallon’s show will be based in New York, where it operated in the Paar and Steve Allen eras, as well as the first part of Carson’s tenure. We will begin seeing how all this works when Fallon makes his Tonight hosting debut on Monday.

Q: What has happened to Chris Cuomo? I don’t see him anywhere anymore.

A: I am not sure where you are looking, although it may not be cable in the morning. Cuomo, formerly of Fox and ABC, joined CNN in January 2013 and in June became one of the hosts of New Day, the network’s early morning show. While the program has not dazzled, and there have been reports suggesting a shakeup, Cuomo was still on board as recently as Feb. 10, when I wrote this.

Q: I have tried to find a William Holden movie, “The World of Suzie Wong,” to no avail. Do you have any suggestions?

A: The 1960 drama, starring Holden and Nancy Kwan, is available via Amazon.com for streaming or digital download through the site’s Amazon Instant Video service. Amazon.com and Moviesunlimited.com sell a DVD version released through the Warner Archive collection.

Warner Archive consists of made-to-order DVDs, and you can order the film directly from the archive at http://shop.warnerarchive.com. According to the archive site, the version provided is not in the original widescreen format but in full frame, the shape of a traditional TV screen. An older DVD release has the movie in widescreen, but it is out of print and, at least on Amazon.com, expensive.

Q: What did Bill O’Reilly have to do with the “intro” to the Super Bowl? And how extremely rude to interrupt the president every five seconds. I thought that segment was completely out of place.

A: As the Huffington Post noted, the Obama-O’Reilly interview was “part of an annual tradition in which the president gives a pre-game interview to the network that is airing the Super Bowl.” There are critics of the practice; sports media writer Ed Sherman griped that “it makes as much sense as inserting a LeBron James interview during a political convention.”

But it gives the president a chance to reach a very large audience, and the network’s news operation gets some exposure for one of its stars. Last year, CBS had the game and Scott Pelly did the interview. Since the Super Bowl was on Fox this year, the network decided to showcase one of its biggest names, O’Reilly.

Once that was set, it was no surprise that the interview was combative. Some people who are not fans of President Obama thought that was just dandy. Others, like yourself, had a different view.

Do you have a question or comment for the mailbag? Write to the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com. Please mark the email or envelope with “mailbag.” Letters may be edited for publication. Please do not phone in questions. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.


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