NBC: Jimmy Fallon ‘doesn’t have a drinking problem’
On Wednesday, NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Gleenblatt spoke with reporters at the Television Critics Association in Pasadena to dismiss reports of the network’s concerns over Jimmy Fallon’s drinking problem. The hearsay became widely noted in the press after several instances of The Tonight Show host’s injuring himself, including video in which the 41-year-old is seen hurting his hand while falling over a girl and holding a bottle of Jäger. But Fallon, according to Greenblatt, “doesn’t have a drinking problem that any of us know about.”
“The stories are exaggerated about all of it,” Greenblatt continued. “I don’t know to what extent. I haven’t been part of it. I don’t have those conversations with Jimmy Fallon.”
The network exec added that, despite media seizing upon tabloidal moments when Fallon lets loose in West Village bars and how he almost lost a finger from tripping over a rug, the claims are baseless and that “he’s in better shape than he’s ever been.”
“He goes out and has fun,” Greenblatt said. “He’s had some accidents.”
Back in November, a source told the NY Post that Fallon’s drinking habits have gone “from being a whisper to a chatter” and got one bartender on the record affectionately calling him “a mess.”
Ratings for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon are still in the top spot among late-night TV shows, so perhaps it’s simply a string of boozy incidents that media have unfairly sensationalized. Or, more understandably, this could be how Fallon helps himself forget that every night he makes his living by playing patty cake on a heavily corporatized show, one that has arguably softened since Jay Leno’s exit in 2014.
Or maybe Fallon’s rivals need to start drinking more if they want to catch up.