If NBC is getting beaten up on PBS' day of press tour -- by one of NBC's own stars, no less -- how bad are things going to get when actual Peacock executives show up at the tour next week?
I arrived late in day one of PBS' day, and therefore missed Ian McKellen suggesting that Gandalf might be gay, but I got here in time for a panel on George Carlin posthumously receiving the Mark Twain Prize, featuring Carlin's daughter Karen, plus comedians Richard Belzer and Lewis Black.
While it was a lively session overall, with Belzer recalling his early impressions of watching Carlin on stage, things slowed towards the end, and a reporter asked the Belz what would happen to his day job on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" now that NBC is preparing to give five hours of primetime a week to Jay Leno.
"Fortunately, 'Special Victims Unit' is the only hit dramatic series left on the big peacock," he said. "So I'm not worried, frankly. We're very lucky to be starting our 10th year. We'll be moving to 9 o'clock, obviously.
"Jay Leno is, of course, going to be on every night, meaning thousands of people will be out of work, actors, producers, writers, wardrobe people. It may be good for comedy in limited way, but it's a terrible, terrible trend for network television to take five hours of primetime... I'm not denigrating Jay or the show. I just think it's a network that is desperate."
After noting that "I'm already signed" to a contract and therefore can say what he wants, Belzer called the Leno move "the last gasp of a dying network that could turn out to be brilliant in terms financially, but in terms of actors and writers and producers, I think it's a tragedy."