Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Leno Shuffle

I read a posting at the NYTimes where Dick Cavett weighted in with his opinion of the NBC-Leno-O'Brien fracas. He mentioned how it's known fact in his industry that interviews – no matter how rich and famous – will not work in primetime. Given the events at hand, it would seem this old TV saying still holds true.

Here is what I posted:

The network affiliates caused the blow up at NBC. And why not, their local news broadcast were losing ratings and advertising dollars with Leno's lead in, every night. The Hindenburg was a magnificent work just before it caught fire; the Jay Leno show in prime time was not. They should have spent more on writers. Leno had some good stuff but you can only do so much with an interview.

How NBC handled it and your comment on it – priceless!

All this proves is that just because reality TV is the latest fashion, interviews of the rich and famous will still not make it in prime time.

And as far as young viewers driving ratings and corporate decisions, I have one question: This is the demographic that was watching local news until Jay took over the lead-in timeslot? Give me a break.

Now we see just how much ratings Jay gets once he is up against Letterman. Like the affiliates, he is going to need all the rating bump he can get, hopefully from some new NBC rating phenomenon on late prime time. And to make things juicier, Letterman blackmail trial and all his affairs will be out there. Who you going to watch?

[End of posting]

It showed up on the fifth page of comments, item 106. Careful reading will show that it has been edited since it appeared in the NYTimes. And I got no recommendations. None! Zip!

How devastating. Do I feel like a small time nobody with a nobody avatar that nobody pays any attention worth a click of a recommendation button or what? At least I'm not making stupid decisions at NBC for everybody to see.

Why did they take Jay with the highest ratings in his late night timeslot off to begin with? This younger viewer demographic stayed away from Conan in droves as well a staying away from Jay in his new timeslot. Letterman was letting his dick screw him out any Johnny Carson future. Leno could have sailed into old age retirement with great ratings for both him and NBC, but no, we had to get smart.

Jay may still come back late night, but he is tarnished. This may all be washed away or covered up as the Letterman trials cranks up. Letterman should have never made fun of Leno's problems. If anybody lives in a glass house it is Letterman. And as is Leno bad habit, once he starts a cutting joke, it goes on and on, show after show, night after night, the same old shtick. That's one of the reasons he failed at prime time. I thought he would never go one night and not have Tiger Woods the butt of some joke. Jay didn't really get good until this whole fracus blew up.

And here's another thing I missed in my 2010 predictions. Not even spring and I missed something as simple as interviews not working in primetime.

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