Showing posts with label Jay Leno. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jay Leno. Show all posts

Thursday, March 04, 2010

NBC's Don't See TV

The award for The Best Thing Written About the Conan-Leno Affair goes to. . . .

Envelope, please. (Where's that damn letter opener when you need it?)

One moment, please.

AHEM. The award for The Best Thing Written About the Conan-Leno Affair goes to . . . Christopher Lawrence of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Roll the videotape:
If you've ever been screwed over at work, don't watch "The Tonight Show." Conan O'Brien passed up lucrative offers, waited five years and moved, along with his staff, across the country to take over "The Tonight Show," but NBC never really gave it to him. By putting Leno on in prime time, with more fanfare and better guests -- not to mention giving viewers who just wanted to watch any talk show the chance to do that and get a decent night's sleep -- NBC set Conan up to fail from the start.

If you have any business sense whatsoever, don't watch "The Tonight Show." During his last two weeks on the air, Conan stopped being intimidated by "The Tonight Show" and started making captivating television. While Leno's ratings ticked up slightly, Conan's surged. Then there was the "Evita"-style scene with hundreds of Conan fans rallying for hours in the driving rain outside his studio. By contrast, Leno played The Mirage two days earlier, only doing one show instead of his customary two, and the venue had to offer half-price tickets. And NBC still dumped its newly minted folk hero in favor of the weasel with whom only 4 percent of Oprah's audience, some of the most forgiving viewers in the world, sided.

If you've ever been bullied, don't watch "The Tonight Show." Between slamming Conan in the press when he's contractually forbidden to respond and the tacky "Get back to where you once belonged" commercials for Leno, NBC's behavior has bordered on the shameless.

If you've ever actually been fired, don't watch "The Tonight Show." For someone who considers himself a man of the people, Leno's whining about how NBC "fired" him twice has been surprisingly tone deaf. Especially considering he doesn't even need the job, as he boasts of living solely off his stand-up money. Millions of Americans, including Conan, have genuinely lost their jobs over the past two years; Leno had his start time moved forward, then back, by 95 minutes.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Conan harnesses the power of 'NUTS!'

In the Great Late-Night War, you can look to history for guidance as to how this thing is going to turn out.

Like, you can look at the
Battle of the Bulge as a historical parallel. NBC is the Nazi army, Jay Leno is the Vichy government in France, and things are not going swimmingly as 1944 draws to a close.

The Allied armies have overrun much of France and Belgium, and they're quickly closing in on the Fatherland. Something has to be done. So the Germans launch the Battle of the Bulge in late December, with the goal of encircling and destroying four Allied armies and forcing a peace treaty.

Leno's Vichy government is quick to agree to whatever the der Führer thinks best. What der Führer thought best was the capture of
The Tonight Show in Bastogne, Belgium. The Nazis would take it, then put their guy back in charge.

C'est tout! C'est si bon! Ist gut!

Finally, with Bastogne and the crippled, beleaguered Tonight Show all but surrounded, the NBC television Nazis made their demand to Allied commander Conan O'Brien: Surrender.

And Conan said "NUTS!"

THE REST will be history. Most notably, NBC and a now-damaged Jay Leno.

Look, all CBS' David Letterman did was screw young female subordinates. In this day and age, that's survivable.

But Leno, on the other hand, was an embarrassing failure at 9 o'clock. And now he looks like NBC's eager toady in sticking a shiv in Conan's back. He's the "Tonight Show Indian giver." He's the butt -- and the chin -- of all the other late-night hosts' jokes.

Letterman is having a field day.

ABC's Jimmy Kimmel, meantime, is making fun of Leno . . . on Leno's own show, and Jay was defenseless against the hilariously withering "attack."

That's damaged goods.

OH, YEAH. That's damaged goods.

So now we must quickly switch historical analogies to plumb the true good fortune of Conan O'Brien.

Press reports say
negotiations are being "finalized" to pay Conan $30 million to leave The Tonight Show so Leno can take it back. Imagine it this way -- not only is Conan getting a coveted spot in a lifeboat while the crew of the Titanic is otherwise occupied rearranging the deckchairs, he's getting $30 million for the privilege of saving his own ass.

All because he had the guts to say "NUTS!"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The fo' 'ho'-men of NBC's apocalypse

The sharp analytical minds of Conan O'Brien's writing staff at The Tonight Show may have come up with the best explanation yet of the fine mess NBC has gotten itself into.

Think of the network's suits as favoring something a little "louder" than Brooks Brothers or Armani. Add a little extra bling to go with the Rolexes. Throw in some oversized chapeaus.

And don't forget the fur coats and Cadillacs in this action-packed milieu where "management" sweet talks the fresh talent, the veteran talent is expected to produce, many Benjamins change hands, and everybody will get screwed sooner or later.

WELL, everybody will get screwed until Pam Grier shows up -- in a clever "Conan O'Brien" disguise, no less -- to whoop some serious pimp-daddy ass and try to rescue the desperate old ho who's seen better days and will do anything to avoid being dumped at the Bide-a-Wee Courts with a cap in the . . . assets.

The New York Times picks up the plot line in this peacock-network remake of Foxy Brown:

Less than a week after NBC told him it intended to move his “Tonight Show” to a new time, 12:05 a.m., Mr. O’Brien said he would not agree to what he considered a demotion for the institution of “The Tonight Show” — and his own career — by going along with the network’s plan to push him back a half-hour to make room for his most recent predecessor, Jay Leno.

Mr. O’Brien’s statement Tuesday said that he so respected the institution of “The Tonight Show” that he could not participate in what “I honestly believe is its destruction.”

Pointedly, Mr. O’Brien did not resign or indicate he would not show up for work. But an executive at the network who declined to be identified because of continuing negotiations said that Mr. O’Brien would leave once a financial settlement was reached.

By Hollywood standards, Mr. O’Brien’s letter was an extraordinary gesture — releasing a statement to make public his anger at the company paying him tens of millions of dollars before he even reached a settlement.

The closest episode in history may be when Jack Paar walked off the set of “The Tonight Show” in a huff over corporate censorship.

Mr. Paar returned to the show within a month in 1960, but few are predicting a reconciliation between Mr. O’Brien and the network.

NBC executives continued Tuesday to work toward a financial settlement, though some indicated increasing impatience with Mr. O’Brien’s effort to blame the network for the three-car pile-up in late night.

The host, who saw his brief run as host of “Tonight” cut short when NBC decided to restore Mr. Leno to the 11:35 p.m. time period, has been increasingly upset about how he believes he was treated by NBC’s management.

A representative of the host said Tuesday that Mr. O’Brien finally reached the point on Monday where he “sat up all night drafting the statement.”


“You have to wonder if Jay is damaged goods after all this,” said one former longtime network programmer who did not want to be identified criticizing the network. “But if they give him ‘The Tonight Show’ back, maybe it ends up all right after a while. But it just seems so unfair to Conan.”

The release of Mr. O’Brien’s statement complicated an already messy legal and programming situation. NBC executives have quietly complained for at least a month that Mr. O’Brien himself was responsible for declining ratings on the show because he had not broadened his appeal from his days hosting NBC’s 12:35 a.m. show, “Late Night.”
FOXY . . . er, "Conan" don't take no stuff off no two-bit pimp daddies. She done got the evidence, the vice squad is about to bust down the door, and the jig is just about up for the Peacock Ring's late-night racket.

But alas, Foxy's bravery won't, we suspect, save Old Ho from TV decrepitude -- or from Jeff "Zucky Bear" Zucker, who runs the "enterprise." Last we saw, a salmon-colored Caddy was pulling up to the Bide-a-Wee Courts.