Friday, January 08, 2010

NBC blindly follows Jay Leno into Greater Folly

So in the past 48 hours, we've had reports that Jay Leno's show was being cancelled, wasn't being cancelled, was going to replace Conan O'Brien and now we are at the point where the story is that The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien will be moved to 12:05 to make room for a 30 minute Jay Leno monologue-based show, and that if Conan isn't happy about it, he can walk and Jay gets The Tonight Show back.

Through it all, I just kept thinking, "Wow, NBC really doesn't know what it is doing these days, does it?" Then again, I shouldn't be surprised. After all, this is the network that cancelled a season of Last Comic Standing a couple of days before the finale.

The smart play is just canceling Jay Leno and putting that low-rated dream to rest. It doesn't matter that it is cheap, it still isn't succeeding in any way. It is time to cut their losses. But that isn't the way they are going. Jay Leno at 11:35 is, no matter what.

The fact that Jay Leno is upset that he is only being offered a half-hour show at 11:30 is really the icing on the cake though. I mean, you would think that Leno would look at the situation, think back to when he started at The Tonight Show, and remember that brief period of time when NBC had made an offer to David Letterman for that same time slot because Jay's numbers weren't the best. The fact that he went through that, and now he is on the other side of it makes him almost villainous in all this... he is just royally screwing someone else, and I don't think he elicits a lot of sympathy.

And on NBC's side of this equation, what are they thinking? Seriously, who looks at the situation as it currently exists and comes to the conclusion that the person that is killing your entire late night schedule and is leading a lot of the affiliates to gnash their teeth about the poor lead-in numbers for the local news is the very same person that should have at least a half-hour show at 11:35.

I know that Leno was beating Letterman before he left The Tonight Show, but that was light years ago, before Leno bombed out bad in primetime and dragged the network down with him.

It is like if you worked at a company and the top salesman left and you got his job, and then the company decided to bring him back in a diminished role, but every day he came to work, he was poisoning the entire client base of the business and setting you up for failure, and then during review time, they fire you because you aren't selling enough, and give the person who hasn't sold anything since he came back his old job.

And all this is happening so fast that Conan O'Brien has seemingly been out of the loop for much of it, and reports are that he is understandably angry. I mean, this is disrespectful not only to him as a professional, but it sullies The Tonight Show as well.

I would love to see Conan quit over this and part with something similar to Ray Patterson's speech in The Simpsons episode Trash of the Titans: "Oh...oh, know, I'm not much on speeches, but it's so gratifying to leave you wallowing in the mess you've made. You're screwed, thank you, bye." I mean, he certainly paid his dues, and he deserves better than this treatment, and nothing good is going to come from NBC's plan for any of the parties involved. You know Johnny Carson wouldn't stand for any of this.


Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Well put. I can't believe the hubris of Leno. Instead of bowing out gracefully and remembering a time when someone gave him his first break he is pathetically holding onto any scraps he can regardless of who it hurts. Conan deserves the years that Jay got to build his fan base. While I would normally be happy to see Leno and NBC take their lumps for their stupid decision to put Jay on at ten in the first place, I find that I am more angry at all the collateral damage this situation will cause. I hope when Jay gets back on the Tonight Show (and you know he will) that the audience will turn away from this spoiled asshole and show him what failing REALLY feels like.

Semaj said...

I'm thinking about doing a post about this too, but you summed up my feelings on the matter.

Leno needs to step away and either retire or find a little cable show to do his stuff on.

MC said...

I was going to originally title this "NBC asks Conan to bend of a table, reams him with Leno's Cock" but I thought that was a little too on the nose.

Someone conservatively estimated that this whole fiasco has cost NBC and its affiliates 200 million dollars. CBS is happy about this whole situation however.

Conan did a funny joke in his most recent monologue about this too.

AG said...

Well done. (And I still wish CBS would put the cherry on top of the gloat sundae by grabbing Conan and making it an O'Brien-Ferguson block. No, I do not think Dave will consent. I do not care.)

Anonymous said...

Who CARES!!!!! The only reason I watch any NBC is for the NFL GAMES.....

MC said...

AG: Well, from what I'm hearing, there is another personality at NBC who isn't particularly pleased by what is happening to Conan...someone who has been with the network for a LONG time, give or take a few years.

Anon: If they are hemorrhaging money, they might lose football to another network when their current contract is done.