Yet Another Journal

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» Thursday, January 21, 2010
The Leno/O'Brien Thing
NBC Confirms O'Brien Exit

My thoughts:

• Although I am fonder of Leno—wish he'd give his guests more opportunity to talk, though; f'God's sake, Jay, shut up—than of O'Brien, Conan O'Brien was robbed. Screwed through and through. NBC promised him that slot five years ago and now they're reneging. Hope he gets a nice fat breach of contract settlement. Particularly feel bad for all the members of his staff who relocated.

• I never thought Conan's brand of humor would work at 11:30. If you're up after 12:30, you have a different mindset than the crowd that's still up at 11:30. I also think the show lost something by transferring from New York to Hollywood (Burbank, whatever...). There's a different, edgier feel to a New York show with guests in New York. YMMV.

• I wish people would quit blaming Leno. Way back when NBC said "Hey, we want you to give up Tonight in 2009." Leno's the type of guy who loves being "on"—you can tell watching him; okay, it's mostly ego, but that's his thing—but still said okay. Then, since he still had good ratings in 2009, something they didn't count on, they get this harebrained idea to stick him at 10 p.m. to keep him from wandering elsewhere. They said they did research. I don't know what kind of ditzy research they did, but a Tonight format just doesn't belong in prime time; anyone with the sense God gave a goat could have seen that. So Leno takes the slot and bombs. To paraphrase Bill Cosby: "And these brain-damaged people have the nerve to look surprised." So they ask Leno to go back. Would you have said no?

• And the half hour show that NBC thought might work? Pardon my language, but WTF could anyone do with a half-hour show in late night? Prime time shows are already down to 21 minutes of plot in a half-hour slot. With all the damn commercials they cram into late-night TV what would be left, fifteen minutes?

The big question as always: do television executives actually live in the real world?