Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Jay Leno Show Bombs - Gets The Tonight Show Back. Huh?

NBC made it official today.

The Jay Leno Show is being canceled. Or is it? I'm not exactly sure, since NBC is now toying with the idea of moving Leno to 11:30 pm, and
The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien to 12:05 am. Yeah, let's all just pretend that this isn't really NBC giving O'Brien the boot and handing The Tonight Show back to Leno. Even The Larry Saunders Show wasn't this dysfunctional.

What a bunch of bullshit!

Moving Conan O'Brien to The Tonight Show was in the works for several years before it actually happened in 2009 - it wasn't like this move was unexpected. Why couldn't Jay Leno have retired with dignity and grace when this happened? Jack Parr and Johnny Carson both did so, and we regard them as legends today. Maybe it has something to do with fame, money or a lack of those rare vintage automobiles he has yet to obtain, but Jay Leno simply comes across more like a sycophantic leech than an entertainer now. The guy hints that he wants his late night slot back, and NBC literally snags it back for him. Why? He's not all that funny. What is it with this guy that NBC sees as being golden?

I like Conan O'Brien a lot. He's hilarious. He's daring. He's fun to watch! When a joke bombs, he does some forth wall-busting gag that picks the joke and show back up. His interviews with guests are great, and his skits are unpredictable and slap-stick. He has great bits, funny writers and a very wonderful supporting cast (Andy Richter, Max Weinberg, Labamba, et al.) O'Brien has an energy that is unmatched by Leno and even David Letterman (who, I might add, will be getting several more viewers if Conan gets the heave-ho from The Peacock Network). Given the right amount of time, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien would have picked-up steam and eventually had that "Hugh Grant interview" moment that once propelled Jay Leno when his ratings were in a slump (remember that, NBC? Of course you don't!)

NBC/General Electric made a commitment to Conan O'Brien. A commitment that had the host move his production and his family to California for. It was a commitment that was several years in the making, and Leno and NBC saw it coming well in advance. Now Jay Leno (whose comedy I think is stale, boring and geriatric) and NBC both decide, willy-nilly, that since Leno's post-retirement talk show was a ratings disaster (and boy was it!), it's time to basically give The Tonight Show back to him. Reclaim that former Tonight Show With Jay Leno glory, or something. You know; go backwards.

It's these kinds of inconsistent shenanigans that are making NBC the laughing stock it is today. Honestly, without 30-Rock, Community, The Office (which I'm starting to get tired of), Brian Williams, and The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien, I would have absolutely NO reason to watch this network. NBC needs to nut-up, back O'Brien and show Leno the door. Leno had his moment(s) in the sun (it's not like the guy is strapped for cash - I'm sure he'll survive without a television show); it's time to let someone else play in the Tonight Show sandbox.

But, of course, this is NBC: The National Broadcasting Clusterfuck. Leno's in and O'Brien's out. Again, I call bullshit on all of this!

If NBC can't honor to its commitment to Conan O'Brien, does this network really deserve the honor of our patronage? I mean, if this is what the network thinks of its talented employees, what must it think about us?

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