Fans of the Tonight Show finally get to ride the Race Through New York ride at Universal Studios

Jimmy Fallon and Tonight Show Travel to Orlando

Jimmy Fallon at Opening Parade for Universal Ride
During the week of April 3 - 8, 2017 Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show, traveled to Orlando, Florida for his regular show taping. Fallon celebrated the opening of his Tonight Show themed ride at the Universal Studios in Orlando. The ride is named Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon and was opened on April 6, 2017. The attraction allows visitors to embark on a tour through a recreated NBC's 30 Rock building before they hop on a 3D simulator and race Jimmy Fallon around the historical landscapes of New York City. As visitors enter the first floor, they venture through a memorabilia hall that includes timeless pieces of Tonight Show lore, dating all the way back to 1954. After the guests proceed from the first floor they enter into a replica Studio 6B (where The Tonight Show is currently taped). Here the guests are greeted by the mascot of The Tonight Show, Hashtag the Panda, and the show's recurring singing quartet The Ragtime Gals. On the ride, The Tonight Show entertainers perform for the guests as they await the 3D simulator, and get ready to face-off against Fallon. The simulator takes the riders throughout New York City as they race against The Tonight Show host. During the ride Fallon delivers some of his trademark humor and wit. Fans of Fallon will also be excited to see Fallon's talents on display as the comic plays 10 different characters, ranging from a cab driver, to a construction worker, to a teenage girl named Sara (with two of the three being synonymous with the quintessential New York stereotype). In a recent USA Today interview, Fallon went into detail about his level of involvement for the ride. Fallon claimed he and two of his writers had worked on the creative for three and a half years. Fallon initially approached Universal with the idea of a ride, while he was still host of The Late Night (Fallon’s previous talk show, that he hosted prior to The Tonight Show, from 2009-2014). According to Fallon, the conversation was brief, as Universal had no interest at that time. With his star bit brighter, now that he has hosted The Tonight Show since 2014, Universal revisited the idea, and Fallon was open to making his idea a reality.

Jay Leno Goes Back to his Roots During The Tonight Show Monologue

Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno
On the Thursday April 6 episode of The Tonight Show, Fallon had former Tonight Show host, Jay Leno on the program as a guest. Leno got to reprise his former role as the lead man, as he did a stand-up bit during the opening monologue of the show. Leno was quick to pile on with the political commentary (something Fallon is perceived to shy away from). Leno also did not hesitate to dish out one-liners about the President. The comic made reference to President Trump deciding not to throw the first pitch for opening day, skipping the correspondents’ dinner and other controversial political headlines. Leno was equitable in his partisan shots, as he hit both sides of the aisle. The comic also made jokes about the Clintons, one that included Anthony Weiner reaching out to the former president, Bill Clinton, to see whether Clinton was offended by Weiner’s scandals and another joke, that included Hillary and Bill renewing their vows as something they do every April Fool’s day. For the most part Leno's monologue went over pretty well and the former host helped round out an eventful week for the Tonight Show in Orlando.

Perfect Timing for Orlando Visit as Fallon Tries to Overcome Ratings Malaise

Jimmy Fallon promoting ride on Tonight Show
For the week of taping in Orlando, Fallon put together an impressive list of celebrities that included: Shaquille O’Neal, Pitbull, Blake Shelton, Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Jason Derulo and Jay Leno. While this slate of celebrities may seem to be a lineup arranged for sweeps week, until further notice, every week might as well be sweeps week for Fallon. As of April 5, The Tonight Show, had lost 9 consecutive weeks in its ratings battle with Stephen Colbert's Late Show, with the most recent ratings gap being the largest yet. It is no wonder why NBC pulled out all the stops in promoting the show's Universal Studios ride. Although, with Colbert further establishing a large sample size of ratings superiority, these recent efforts by NBC may appear as if NBC is hitting the "panic button". While reviews of the ride have been mostly positive, NBC hopes that the momentum of the ride's coverage will carryover to more successful ratings in the following weeks.