Hoping to attract a younger audience to its streaming platform, NBCUniversal is aging down late-night talk show The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
The Kids Tonight Show premiered exclusively on Peacock on October 14, and new episodes of the 20 x 15-minute series will roll out weekly. It features four kids hosting their own talk show, complete with celebrity interviews (JoJo Siwa and Kristen Bell) and games. Universal Television Alternative Studio produced the family-skewing series with executive producer Jimmy Fallon’s Electric Hot Dog production company and Boat Rocker’s Matador Content.
The goal with the new series is to take what’s popular about the format of Fallon’s original talk show—celebrity guests, comedy and challenges—and add more silliness to keep kids engaged, says executive producer James Sunderland. For example, there’s a segment called Mayhem that sees chaos erupt (think confetti cannons and people dancing in wacky costumes) when a secret word is uttered. The twist is that the hosts don’t know what that word is.
NBCU is looking to appeal to family viewers who don’t watch the original show, but who have seen viral clips online where Fallon interviews celebrity guests, performs sketches and takes on challenges. The plan is to bring this audience to The Kids Tonight Show (and to Peacock) using a format the producers already know kids are interested in, but aren’t watching on linear TV. Sunderland says a win would be to have The Tonight Show and The Kids Tonight Show feeding into each other, with viewers of one discovering the other, preferably on Peacock.
The industry has been busy setting the stage with more kids talks show recently, including HBO Max’s The Not Too Late Show with Elmo and Earth to Ned on Disney+. This is Peacock’s first kids talk show, and Sunderland is interested in doing more with the format, explaining that there is demand from kids for this type of content.
“If you want a show that will entertain, make you laugh and also have a learning moment, then this is the one,” he says.