Music booker Jonathan Cohen‘s Feb. 20 exit from NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon has sparked a round of musical chairs at the top daytime and late-night talk shows. Julie Gurovitsch, former music talent coordinator at Today, will step into the music-booking role at The Tonight Show starting March 30, which means a search for her replacement at Today is on.
Free agent Cohen would appear to be a logical fit for the inaugural music booker slot at CBS’ Late Show With Stephen Colbert when it debuts in September, but a representative for Colbert says no hires have been made (and Cohen declined to comment). Sheryl Zelikson, current music booker for Late Show With David Letterman, however, is expected to be involved in some capacity with Colbert after Letterman goes off the air on May 20. Elsewhere at CBS, The Late Late Show With James Corden, premiering March 23, has hired Diana Miller (herself a veteran of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon) as its main talent booker.
The intra-NBC Today–Tonight switch is notable in a field that often looks outside — Cohen was an editor at Billboard prior to his TV gig, while Jimmy Kimmel Live!‘s Scott Igoe was an assistant to Jimmy Iovine — and with MTV and VH1 moving away from music, signals a shrinking pool for bookers. Cautions a TV executive: “Networks are looking for programmers, not music people.”
This article first appeared in the March 21 issue of Billboard.