Tuesday, January 19, 2010

NBC Executives vs. The Tonight Show: A History

I've just completed a piece for WFMU called The Late Night Distemper of Our Times. It follows the trail of NBC executives that have over the course of history, blundered in their attempts to 'improve' The Tonight Show. Serious historical precedent exists for what is happening today. Steve, Jack and Johnny all got the shaft in various ways from the suits. From there we explore the biggest bomb in late night talk show history, The Jerry Lewis Show. Read it here.

And check this, originally mundane, now historically important footage. Stunning how everything Jay says here has turned out to be completely false (if not completely insincere to begin with).


Anonymous said...

Leno is not the bad guy here. The network made these moves, not Jay.

Jay Leno is not bigger than NBC/Universal.

He gets better ratings than Conan at 11:30 and the network has much more money invested in Leno.

Anonymous said...

Leno's 2004 announcement in my opinion was both sincere and honest. He certainly could not foresee the networks desire to keep him on board in 2009 and the ensuing ratings and schedule problems.

Anonymous said...

Leno is a hypocrite, and the badguy. Take a walk Jay. Is Helen Cushnick haunting NBC?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks Jay Leno is the bad guy here has zero business acumen.

NBC is not going to opt for the guy who gets the worst ratings.

Jay Leno has nothing to do with this decision.

Jay's show did not work out at 10 because as it turns out, people would rather watch hour-long dramas at that hour.

Conan O'Brien was failing at 11:30 so they decided to bring back Jay, who has proven to get better ratings at 11:30.

If you were the president of NBC and had opted to stay with Conan and fire Jay Leno, you would have been fired by Universal.

You don't make decisions like this without considering what's best for the company and the shareholders.