Posts tagged Jay Leno

This year’s Super Bowl ads: Leno/Oprah/Letterman kind of play nice, Betty White in the mud, The Griswolds…and a killer whale

image source: associated press

Congrats to the Saints for their big win last night! Okay, let’s move past football, because as we know the Super Bowl telecast isn’t really about the game but the commercials.

With the exception of a couple of gems, I found most of the ads this year to be boring, and in some cases kind of disturbing (who knew Doritos had so much rage). Oh, and CBS really cranked out the promos…was that how they were able to sell all the ad space because they kept more than usual for the network? Hmmm. Anyway, speaking of promos, definitely the  highlight of the night was the Late Show with David Letterman spot, with guests stars Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey. Wow, everyone was able to stay hush-hush weren’t they, as we definitely didn’t see that coming:

And then the Snickers ad which featured Betty White and Abe Vigoda. Awesome:

I was mildly interested in with the whole National Lampoon’s Vacation thing:

What else…the Google ad was two parts ridiculous and one part clever; the Denny’s ads made me chuckle; and the killer whale in the backseat for Bridgestone Tires was way too obvious before they even mentioned bachelor party, although it kind of gets funnier the more you watch it. Here’s the clip…because I’ve always wanted to end a blog post with video of a killer whale:


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Update on NBC late-night debacle: Leno is back to 11:35 PM

NBC announced that indeed they are canceling The Jay Leno Show during the 10 PM hour, and pushing him back to 11:35 PM–his original slot when he hosted The Tonight Show. If Conan stays, then Jay’s show will be a half-hour and if Conan walks, then it appears as though Leno will once again host The Tonight Show. The whole thing is just so ridiculous. Lots of money spent and lost and NBC ends up looking even more incompetent. Hey, here’s an idea for a new competition reality show: Please Run Our Network, and Not Further Into Ratings Oblivion, Thank You Very Much!

Anyway, as of now, there is no official word on what will happen with Conan…there is talk that he’s considering heading over to Fox. NBC has made their choice on who is the priority, I think that assuming all the money/details shake out that Conan would be crazy not to go to Fox, or wherever else he might be considering.

And so we wait for the drama to continue…and then, of course, in a couple of years there will be ANOTHER made-for-TV movie about the late night wars.

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So, NBC…now what?

Between last night and this morning I’ve been absorbed in all that is this NBC/Jay Leno/Conan/affiliates debacle…just to recap: a couple of years ago NBC announced that they were going to eventually make Conan O’Brien the new host of The Tonight Show and in response to that, they decided instead of losing Jay Leno to a competitor, they were going to give him a show too. The powers that be at the Peacock network decided it would save them some money to get rid of all their 10 PM weeknight programming and have Jay’s show during that time-slot. They would keep him and his viewers, while getting everyone used to Conan as the new face of The Tonight Show and simultaneously attract younger viewers. Everybody wins, right?


During the last few months since the transition officially took place, local NBC affiliates have seen dramatic drops in viewership (according to the LA Times, as much as 30% in some markets), due to Leno’s low ratings, and they have been freaking out, understandably.

NBC knows that’s serious, or they are using it as an excuse to undo their damage, and so now the back-peddling begins…according to various reports, one of the options NBC is considering is to give Leno back his 11:35 PM slot, as The Jay Leno Show and Conan, if he chooses to stay with the network, will be at 12:05 AM with The Tonight Show, and then Jimmy Fallon at 1:05 AM. It’s anyone’s guess what the heck will happen. We should know shortly as the Television Critics Tour in LA begins next week and there is an NBC affiliates board meeting later this month.

I personally thought this was a reckless and ridiculous move to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, risks are good, but focus groups/trial periods are better. I ask, how much research/thought was put into this? From fans, to the creative community that produces the programming, to affiliates, everyone was affected by this, and the only ones that seemed to have gained were Leno and O’Brien with lucrative contracts. It appears to me that NBC was so wrapped up in saving their talent that they didn’t think about the long-run or the impact of changing the broadcast landscape with replacing the coveted 10 PM time-slot with the same show (didn’t anyone learn from ABC’s mistake with multiple night airings of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?) and with a personality that was already kind of being phased out to begin with, with the network initiating the passing of the torch.

How ever it shakes out, NBC has some rebuilding to do, not only their image/PR (as they look like they don’t know what the heck they are doing), but also somewhat of their programming brand. It’s been a few months now, and many viewers have moved on to other networks/shows to satisfy their 10 PM primetime cravings. Based on reports, NBC’s window to re-organize their schedule is by the conclusion of their 2010 Winter Olympics coverage—February 28—which doesn’t give them a whole lot of time to produce anything new. If they want more bang for the buck, they should attempt to make a programming splash; simply returning with episodes of old shows that never aired might make some fans happy, but doesn’t really make up for their poor decision making in the first place.

I’ll keep tabs on this story and return with updates as they come in…

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The best thing to happen to NBC since 30 Rock…

…and no, it’s definitely not Jay Leno’s nightly 10 PM show…but since you brought it up, IMHO I think handing over the coveted primetime hour to an annoying and no longer relevant comedian is ridiculous and could possibly turn out to be one of the most disastrous decisions NBC has ever made. There are networks that take creative risks (FX, AMC) and then networks that just take desperate measures (remember when ABC ran Who Wants to Be a Millionaire almost every night of the week?)–Jay Leno every night @ 10 PM is a desperate measure. And guess what–Leno’s ratings aren’t great and now NBC is kind of panicking.


All that aside, let’s get to a good decision NBC’s programming kids made for this fall that has turned out to be a bright spot on Thursday night’s line up: Community. In case you aren’t already a fan, it stars Joel McHale (of the E! channel’s The Soup, as well as this summer’s film, The Informant! with Matt Damon) as arrogant and former lawyer, Jeff Winger and Chevy Chase as a socially awkward businessman, Pierce Hawthorne, both who have enrolled at a community college. Jeff creates a fake Spanish class study group to get to know his attractive  fellow classmate, Britta (Gillian Jacobs). Unfortunately for Jeff, word gets around about the said study group, resulting in a few more extra members than he had hoped for—other classmates, who really want/need tutoring/or just want to be social—and voila, we have a show. I think Community is NBC’s second best comedy, behind 30 Rock, and the two of them blocked together on Thursday nights should help the Peacock Network’s numbers.

The cast is great, the writing is fun, slap-stick, witty (and often not very PC), and thoughtful at times, but never forgets that it’s a sitcom (formulaic/predictable). There are a couple of familiar faces–Allison Brie (Trudy from MadMen) as the high-strung Annie; John Oliver (from The Daily Show) as a professor and former client of Jeff’s; and Ken Jeong (appeared in Knocked Up, The Pineapple Express, The Office, Entourage) as Senor Chang, their erratic and intense Spanish professor.


I’m just thrilled that the very talented and smug Ryan Seacrest look-alike Joel McHale is branching out from being host of a clip-show to leading man on a network comedy.  It would seem that Mr. McHale may be the latest Talk Soup/The Soup success story since Hal Sparks, who went on to star in Showtime’s award-winning series, Queer as Folk and before him, Greg Kinnear, who has appeared in numerous films and was nominated for an Oscar for As Good As It Gets.

Below is a clip of the show, enjoy!

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