Thursday, January 7, 2010

Leno's Show is Nearing its End

...According to CBS news. Generally I'd say 'good riddance' because I've made it clear that I do not care for Jay Leno--he's unfunny, and tired, but as I've written previously, it's likely to affect Conan O'Brien. TMZ, has also reported this story, which is hardly confirmation (I'd still place it in the realm of speculation), but it's not sounding good at all.

However, I'm not sure this will be happening as immediately as it is being reported. After the Olympics is in a month or so. What will NBC do about prime time programming? They'll have five hours a week that is not dedicated to any particular TV show, and you know advertisers won't want to touch that with a ten foot pole. Unless they rush out a new series, or have one waiting on the back burner, it'd be even more foolish of NBC to pull the plug on Leno right now. He's dead weight, but it's better to have dead weight than no weight.

Of course, Conan has had the replacement threats, and rumours swirl around him in the past. Maybe it is all just talk. Since the beginning of this "experiment" there have been these exact same rumours. I believe that NBC pressured Leno into stepping down in order to keep Conan for the long term. Leno is not going to be around forever, and since Conan is younger, and has a younger demographic, in a number of years, they'll have a hot commodity. Clearly I think they already do, but Leno did have bigger ratings...the point I'm making is that perhaps they should have let Leno keep The Tonight Show for a few more years, until he was ready to retire. That way, they wouldn't have had to try this dreadful The Jay Leno Show experiment. It was set up to fail, because when I watch late night television, I'll watch one of the shows, maybe part of a second if there is a particularly good guest. I'm not going to sit down, watch The Jay Leno Show at 9 pm (central time of course), then The Tonight Show at 10:35. It will either be one or the other. Therefore, it was stupid of NBC not to anticipate a ratings drop for The Tonight Show, and crummy ratings for The Jay Leno Show. Many Leno fans would have shows they already watch at 9 pm, so instead, they've stopped watching late night TV, or switched over to David Letterman.

Primogeniture, a poster on a movie/television/Lost website,, had the following thoughts:

"If this happens, I will fight someone.

It is difficult to see NBC canceling 'Leno' mid-season, considering the gap that would leave in their primetime schedule. And it remains near unbelievable that the network would fire a 'Tonight Show' host after only half a season on the air. The reason for the switch to Conan was, or should have been, a look to the long-term. You place Conan in that position because he can go for 10, or 15, or even 20 years, something that Leno could not do. Letterman isn't going to be around forever either. To slay Conan's 'Tonight' and return Leno to the show displays the same cunning mental prowess that placed NBC in this predicament to begin with.

In the interest of quality, you know, comedy, and not necessarily business, I only hope that this is simply another one of the litany of firing scares Conan has endured since he entered the business. If not, hopefully he gets 40 million in his pocket and ABC or FOX picks him up before we have time to blink."

I'll maintain what I said a few weeks ago: NBC is going to need a restructuring, and it will probably be happening in the next few years. I have not heard anything more about the Jerry Seinfeld rumours, so that does make me think that this is all just talk. Who could take NBC seriously if they threw away a long term talent like Conan? He'll probably be working longer than Leno will be. And if they do throw him away, he'll be snatched up again immediately.

One thing I do find interesting is that so little is being said about Jimmy Fallon. I haven't watched his show since the first night it aired, but I have heard he's improved since then. As I mentioned in a response to Chris's comment on my prior entry, Fallon's and Conan's demographic is very similar, which also doesn't help ratings.

Of course, to be completely fair, it's easy to be judgmental of a television network while you're sitting on the couch watching TV. I certainly wouldn't ever want to have any part in running a network or making decisions like these, because it must be very stressful. If The Jay Leno Show does go belly up, someone in charge of managing NBC will probably be getting fired as well. It has been rather amazing to watch NBC go from ratings greatness (Seinfeld, Friends, ER), to a floundering mess of a network. They need to get themselves a serious hit, and fast.


  1. Did you see NBC's comment to TMZ on this story? called it a "non-denial denial" and I have to agree - it's been a while since I've seen a response to a rumour that says so little (and in saying so little, says so much).

    You can see it in this story:

  2. No, I hadn't read that specific version of the story. Just now (and I posted an update with a link) I read a story that stated Leno would be returning to a half hour formate before Conan, and Conan would be moved back a half hour to accommodate this new show. It seems from that statement issued that they seem committed to getting rid of The Jay Leno show and placing him somewhere...anywhere else.