So, here's the situation: A very popular late night talk show host has left "Late Night" over a decade, about to be replaced by a little-known comic whom everyone doubts will be a capable successor.
What, you thought I was talking about Jimmy Fallon? No, I was recalling when Conan O'Brien replaced David Letterman as host of "Late Night." At the time, Letterman was leaving NBC for a huge-paying gig at CBS and was being replaced by O'Brien, who had almost no on-camera experience. Despite expectations that O'Brien would fail, he has managed to carve out quite a niche for himself among the late-night lineup.
Will Fallon be as successful? Who can say? Fallon was a solid "Saturday Night Live" regular where he served as the "Weekend Anchor" during his time on the show. His movie career has been a dud, but hey, so was Jay Leno's, and he has also done all right for himself.
I'm not saying Fallon will be better or worse than Conan; he'll be different, and different is fine. We'll see how he fares tonight with guests Robert DeNiro, Justin Timberlake and Van Morrison when his show airs at 12:35 a.m. on NBC.
Many of these late night shows get viewers depending on whom the guest is anyway, and Fallon has a solid lineup his first week, even if NBC is using it to promote its other shows.
But here's wishing him luck.
MONDAY'S BEST BETS: Tonight marks the return of "Saving Grace" (TNT, 10 p.m.), the Holly Hunter series about a cop with a guardian angel. It's replacing "Trust Me," which switches to Tuesdays, and it follows a new "The Closer."
Also on cable is "Secret Life of an American Teenager" and "Kyle XY," both on ABC Family, beginning at 8 p.m.
On regular TV, Fox airs a two-hour "24" beginning at 8 p.m., in which third-world terrorists take over the White House and hold the President hostage. But really, does the President need the Secret Service when she has Jack Bauer?
CBS returns with a lineup of new episodes, including "Rules of Engagement" (CBS, 9:30 p.m.), which follows "Big Bang Theory," "How I Met Your Mother" and "Two and a Half Men." They are all followed by a new "CSI: Miami" at 10 p.m.
"The Bachelor" (ABC, 8 p.m.) wraps up its season tonight as the single dad picks between the final two women.
NBC has new episodes of "Chuck," "Heroes" and "Medium," beginning at 8 p.m.