In the late-night landscape of the post-Johnny Carson era, musical guests have taken a downfall without anybody really realizing it. Back in the days when "The Tonight Show" ran 90 minutes, Carson would almost always have a musical guest double as one of the main guests. This meant a song, an interview, often followed by another song.
When Carson cut the "The Tonight Show" back to an hour in 1980, all other late-night shows trying to compete with him followed suit. This relegated the musical guest to the show's final 10 minutes, ultimately giving them only a chance to sing a song and take part in the host's goodbyes. It's the format that Jay Leno took forward and now long adhered to by David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien, and Jimmy Fallon.
That poses a bit of a problem when there's a show that's still growing into its own, such as "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." Memorable musical performances are rare enough in late-night TV, but when you get one such as Frank Ocean's performance of his song "Bad Religion" on Fallon's show, the lone guest idea springs to mind.
The one-hour format in late-night TV is just too stuck in a 32-year rut when it really isn't necessary. Streamlining all the unnecessary celebrity interviews in the first half so a musical guest can also have an interview really isn't that much of a challenge. Yes, the interview would have to be short, yet why not when musical guests are usually more interesting interview subjects than most of the A-list movie stars who have top billing?
Adhering to the usual format must be a subliminal nod to Johnny Carson's format of his last decade on the air. However, even if everybody buzzed online about the Frank Ocean performance on Jimmy Fallon's show, imagine the buzz had Fallon carved out time for an interview.
All that's necessary is reshaping the show's format at the last minute based on who's trending in the news. And then do what Carson once did: Announce that the previously scheduled guest will return at a later date.