Thursday, January 07, 2010

Is NBC moving Jay Leno back to 11:30?

Over at NJ.com, I have some thoughts on the reports that NBC wants to move Jay Leno back to 11:30.

Leave it to NBC: the day before summer press tour, Ben Silverman announced he was quitting. The day before winter press tour, this goes down. I've got packing to do! "Chuck" blog entries to write! Sigh...

32 comments:

LA said...

Confused... I thought Silverman was out about six months ago?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Which was when summer press tour was about to start.

cadfile said...

Poor NBC having to reward Jay for changing his mind about “retiring” rather than let him go to ABC or Fox and compete against Conan. Any decision is going to cost a boat load of money and they will still have someone on ABC or FOX beating them in the ratings at 11:30. Being 3rd place at 11:30 is worse than 2nd.

Jay’s show WAS the Tonight Show as he barely changed anything except the sitting arrangements and some new paint. It was still unfunny and the ratings prove it. The ONLY reason it seemed to work at 11:30 was because it was the Tonight Show and Hugh Grant got caught with a hooker. He would have been gone long ago if not for that.

NBC has to make their affiliates happy. Lets put Jay to pasture and move on.

alynch said...

NBC also has Persons Unknown ready to go, but aside from that, there isn't much left. Maybe they'll increase Parenthood's order?

and it's not an automatic that Leno's audience returns to the timeslot with him.

How so? It's only been like nine months since he left. If he were to return to the timeslot doing the exact same show he's been doing for the previous 15 years, I have trouble seeing a scenario where the audience doesn't return. What could you see happening?

Alan Sepinwall said...

How so?

Viewing habits, once broken, aren't always so easily unbroken, even in a relatively short period of time. I've heard from a lot of Leno fans (remember, I write for a newspaper with an older readership) who seem very happy to have Jay on at 10 so they can go to bed early. They may not want to stay up late anymore.

Daniel said...

"I write for a newspaper with an older readership"

Is there any other kind?

Nicole said...

I think that Dave's ratings would have gone up with Leno still there because his "scandal" was definitely something that people turned in to watch. Even I took a break from my normal Colbert Report watching to check out what he would say.

Bringing Jay back would just piss off Conan fans, who will either go to Letterman or the TDS/CR hours. The ones who like the 10 pm hour won't stay up just for Jay so that leaves the die-hard Jay Leno fans. Is there even such as thing?

I suspect Letterman will try to pick up Conan as his replacement if NBC doesn't keep him happy. I'm not sure about Letterman's contract, but if there is only a year or two left, Conan is the more likely replacement now, over Jon Stewart, who probably doesn't want to change his format.

LA said...

Oops, sorry, I misread today's post. My bad.

Larry McHenry said...

Dump Jay and let him go, please. I can't believe that network would give Mr. O'Brien the shaft like that. This network is compounding a mistake by making it worse. I was so pleased that "The Tonight Show" had been returned to me after the 17 years Leno held it hostage with his incredibly boring and unfunny shtick(Dancing Ito's anyone?), and in the hands of a truly brilliant and funny performer like Conan. I know Conan's ratings aren't great, but neither are Leno's, and he's now damaged goods. To put it back in his hands after he basically almost single-handily destroyed a network(one that was not in the best of shape, but still) is ludicrous. The bloom is off the rose that was Jay Leno, time to cut your losses, admit your mistakes, and leave Conan and his advertiser friendly audience where it is.

I'm just incredulous. Somewhere, Brandon Tartikoff must be rolling in his grave.

Craig said...

Much as I dislike Leno, he's just as much a victim of NBC's mismanaging of their late-night programming as Conan is. He was still getting ratings at 11:35, and he very much did not want to move to 10 - that he said yes to something that was designed to fail suggests to me that he genuinely acted as a team player here. NBC was (I guess) so terrified of repeating 1993 that they insisted on hanging on to both men, when they should have just accepted that Late Night is designed to be a farm system and accepted that they had to either cut ties with the veteran or let the rookie go. Their half-assed solution has damaged both men, both of the late night shows, and their entire slate of prime-time programming. It's hard to remember a time when NBC was synonymous with quality television, even though that time was THE ENTIRE 1990'S.

bgt said...

Poor NBC having to reward Jay for changing his mind about “retiring” rather than let him go to ABC or Fox and compete against Conan.

Someone correct my memory here, but I don't remember Jay ever coming out and saying that he was ready to retire. I keep seeing
people post things about this, but
back when the Jay --> Conan succession plan was announced, the closest I remember Jay saying is that he was a good solider and would do what NBC wanted. Did he ever actually say he was ready to retire? As I remember it, this was all forced on Jay by NBC due to fear of losing Conan. (I'm a Conan fan, just tired of seeing Jay getting bashed for something I don't think he ever actually said.)

Anonymous said...

What IS Leno's motivation anymore? I mean, he's famous for not spending any of his NBC money. He's basically admitted that he does a dumb-down show because that's what people want. So what's his motivation for taking NBC down like this? If he's not motivated by money or doing quality work then what is it? Does he just want to work in Hollywood?

Otto Man said...

How can we miss you, Leno, if you won't go away?

cadfile said...

@bgt

I put retiring in quotes because I remember that NBC decided to make the change and Jay at the time accepted it. Then when he started complaining about the deal and NBC freaked that he would jump to another net so NBC gave him 10 PM to prevent him from going to another net.

He took the 10 PM deal he could have walked away but he didn't.

I wasn't trying to bash the guy but he is far from a victim in the whole picture.

cadfile said...

Sorry for the consecutive post...

Re: Conan

I have been a huge fan of O'Brien since day 1 on the Late Show. He always acted like he nothing to lose and would do edgy goofy stuff all the time. It was always a fun time.

If there are problems with Conan's version of the Tonight Show, it is the same problem when Dave moved to 11:35 on CBS. The edginess is gone. Conan seems he is holding his punches. It seems people think you have to hide the stuff mom and dad might find objectionable like the masturbating bear or the coked up mascot for example.

Jimmy Fallon is fun to watch because he asks like Conan did during his time there like he has nothing to lose.

Yes it is THE Tonight Show but does it have to be Johnny's version or can't we have more wacky, dark, and edgy stuff?

Brian said...

I can believe NBC would fall back on Leno (again), but I can't believe they're so sleazy as to screw Conan like that. Absolutely loathsome. Only bright side, this could maybe free Conan up from the restrictive late-night-talk-show format and force him to develop something more original...maybe for HBO or something? I'm getting ahead of myself obviously, but this is just so ridiculous.

alf said...

This makes me want to say words you can't say on NBC. Putting Leno back on NBC at 11:30 would just be awful!

Anonymous said...

I can see why they would but they are torpedoeing Conan and basically saying he's not ready for the big leagues. And what about Fallon? Is he going to the Carson Daly slot. Only good thing about the NBC shenanigans is that as long as they are tanking they have nothing to lose with sticking with low rating bit quality stuff like Chuck and Parks and FNL.

Leno probably had some leverage in how this played out?

pws said...

Looks like they're bumping Jay to his old spot at 11:35pm and everyone else starts a half hour later:
http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/07/update-nbc-plans-leno-at-1130-conan-at-12/

Someone please tell me why NBC is so hellbent on keeping Jay, and now for only a half hour of programming? I just don't understand what's in it for them. Though this could work out in favor of Conan, only because folks will finally not have to choose between him and the Colbert Report...

Nicole said...

Instead of having Leno do Tonight show at 10, they should get him to do a US version of Top Gear or something. He loves his cars, NBC could get sponsorship fees, and then there would be some attempt at creativity.

JS said...

It's hard to say OBrien failed at the job because all the time and effort NBC should have spent promoting and launching The Tonight Show with Conan Obrien was re-directed to and overshadowed by the Leno drama. Conan was never given the chance to fully own the chair because Leno was always lurking around giving him the side-eye. How can you get the kids to like new mommy when Real Mommy is still living in the house causing drama?

Anonymous said...

Do you realize that Leno screwed over three great late-night hosts? His team was responsible for forcing Carson out before Johny wanted to leave. He stole most of Letterman's schtick, then dumbed it down, broadened it, made it unmemorable garbage and then grabbed ratings with it. Now his ego and NBC are going to screw over Conan. It will be interesting to see how history judges Jay Leno years from now and what he did to late night television.

Alyson said...

I'm just incredulous. Somewhere, Brandon Tartikoff must be rolling in his grave.

Brandon Tartikoff has likely been rolling in his grave for quite some time now.

Anonymous said...

NBC deserves to fail - or is that continue to fail? - after this mess. I love Conan and I can't stand Jay (although I understand his appeal), but to demote Conan after not even giving him a fair shot is just ridiculous. I wonder whether Conan knew that Leno at 10 was a possibility when he signed on for the transition plan so long ago? I hope Conan moves to another network - I could see FOX as a viable home for his old Late Night (and I think, better) humor.

Bologna Del Toro said...

Dave, stage your own coup. Go out like Scarface. Speak to Conan. Make a plan. He can interrupt his Friday show mid-monologue by saying, "Did you hear about this, Kirstie Alley...FUCK YOU NBC!" Then he, Andy, Max and band can walk off stage, slowly, one by one, like badass motherfuckers. On Monday, you deliver a heart-felt, untouchable speech, then hand the reigns over to Conan. You finish by saying that Conan will only truly earn his rightful place at your desk, if he speaks from his heart from now on. Then Conan appears! Now wearing a black beret.

Matt S. said...

Love the idea of Conan taking over for Letterman (that maybe the one thing i never actually thought of if only because i've been assuming jon stewert was the sure bet to take over that desk for a while now.) but man that would so work for CBS, Letterman (who gets another chance to stick his tongue out at NBC) and frankly history--because as we all know history tends to repeat itself (esp when idiots refuse to learn anything from the first go round.)

I really thought Conan would just go to FOX--because there's some history there with Conan having worked at the simpsons obviously---and fox wanting to get into the late night talk show game for some time now---i can't imagine that the execs there aren't salivating at the chance to try and sweep him off his feet---damaged ratings be damned---- but man Conan takin over Letterman would be awfully, awfully sweet revenge...you gotta admit---that story writes itself!!!

filmcricket said...

If you leave out Jon, wouldn't Craig Ferguson now get first crack at Dave's seat, if and when he leaves?

I don't watch any late night besides the Comedy Central power hour and I've never found Leno funny, but I feel almost as bad for him in this as I do for Conan. NBC simply cannot get it together; they should go back to making wigs and re-designing microwaves.

Robin said...

While I love Craig Ferguson (puppets!), I don't know if I can picture him on at 11:30 rather than 12:30. By the time Conan took over the Tonight Show, he had become a very good interviewer and all-round talk show host. He was polished, for all the edginess in his humor. Ferguson isn't polished at all, and tends to be a horrible interviewer with people he doesn't immediately click with. I can't seem him dealing with the A listers who need their hands held during an interview.

And boo to Leno going back to 11:30. That's just screwing Conan over royally. Although maybe NBC would pay enough damages to Conan that he could move back to NYC and stop dealing with LA.

word verification: aling (what NBC is doing right now?)

RosebuDD said...

I can't find anything in any of the reports about the only NBC late night show I care about/watch, Late NIght with Jimmy Fallon. A 1 am start time would kill his ratings even more and his show is the only late night show (other than Daily Show/Colbert) that gets my DVR attention. Really too bad for Conan as I enjoyed him over the summer when I was watching and he should really give an FU to NBC.

dez said...

I would love it if ABC ditched Kimmel in favor of Conan. Letterman retiring and giving Conan his show seems like a great idea, too!

pooley said...

ABC has already said they are happy with their Nightline/Kimmel lineup and are not interested in Conan. NBC has damaged Conan's value because everyone has now seen how well/poorly Conan performs at 11:30 (even if Leno's is partly to blame) and five years ago that was an unknown variable that made him a more attractive option.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what their contracts are like. I'm sure some kind of pay out towards Conan has to occur.