Saturday, December 13, 2008

do you know where your children are?

So much has been written about Jay Leno's new deal for a nightly 10:00 p.m. show that I didn't think there was anything left to say about it. Longtime readers of this blog know that my friend Bean suggested that very thing back in March. However, many of the articles about Leno's new show suggest that he and Conan O'Brien will be competing to book the same guests. Conan will move his show from New York to Los Angeles in June.

Other articles have pointed out that Leno's ratings drop off after the first half-hour. In other words, the ratings drop when the guests come on. Leno's people know that many viewers turn off the TV at midnight, which is why they load all the good stuff in the first half-hour and save the guest for later. Leno's strong suits are his monologue and bits like "Jaywalking." He is not a great interviewer. With the exception of Hugh Grant's 1995 mea culpa, can you think of a memorable celebrity guest appearance on Leno's "Tonight Show?"

NBC will need Leno to provide a decent lead-in to the late local news. I think he should run his most popular bits in the final quarter hour of the new show instead of interviewing a celebrity. In fact, he should have more bits and fewer guests. He can let Conan have the guests and prevent a booking war.

Network executives are claiming that the new Leno show will be "DVR proof." They say that as if no one records late night talk shows. TiVo users know that the fastest way to watch any show is to record it even if you start watching minutes after the program begins. I am always pausing, rewinding and fast-forwarding during all the shows I watch. Why should a talk show be any different?

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