Theme Parks

Jimmy Fallon's Universal Studios ride almost never happened

Four4Four: Stephen Colbert has pulled ahead in the ratings against Jimmy Fallon. Is Donald Trump to thank?

 

It may be a tight race for late-night talk show ratings these days, but Jimmy Fallon has one thing his competitors can’t match — his own theme park thrill ride.

 

The “SNL” alum and “Tonight Show” host is recording his show from Universal Orlando this week, where this Thursday, Universal Studios waves the green flag on the new "Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon" ride — a simulated 3D experience that was, in fact, the brainchild of Fallon himself.

“It’s an idea I had seven years ago. I pitched it to Universal and they politely passed,” he laughs. “I have a bunch of crazy ideas but this came to be when I first got cast for ‘Late Night.’ As I was signing the contract I saw ‘NBC Universal’ and I thought — Universal! Maybe there’s something I could do with Universal Studios, because I love theme parks! So I got a video conference with Mark Woodbury and pitched this idea of me jumping off 30 Rock with a hang glider through New York City and he said, 'Well, thanks … but no. But if you want tickets to this new Harry Potter thing we’re doing, it’s going to be really big.'”

Once Fallon created his indelible stamp on the bumpy ride that is the “Tonight Show," however, the powers that be saw a crowd-pleaser, and Fallon got a call back.

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Just over three years later, and with an undisclosed budget (“They said no to absolutely nothing,” he says), Mr. Fallon’s wild ride has come to life thanks to the wizardry of the theme-park tech giants at Industrial Light and Magic.

This article originally appeared in The New York Post.