Friday, January 22, 2010

Tonight Show R.I.P., part 3

Well it's a done deal. Friday, January 22nd is Conan's last night.

A new network?

The claim is that Fox affiliates have a low level of interest of picking up a 11:00pm telecast of Conan because they're either currently locked into syndication agreements or have 11:00pm news broadcasts in addition to their 10-11pm news broadcasts.

The Fox network would likely compromise on getting some of the more hard-headed affiliates out of those syndication agreements, and since the show wouldn't be starting on February 12th there would be time to arrange the "start" of a Conan show. Channels that have a 11:00pm news broadcast will likely be out of luck or Fox will begin Conan at 11:05 of 11:10. When all is said and done, when The Fox Network wants a nighttime talk show, it will win out over reruns of Seinfeld and The Office.

Of course I'm just an outsider with an opinion that doesn't take into account most of the nuances that take place behind the scenes, so who knows.

What's next?

So why did they want to keep Leno? That decision didn't make sense you say? Well what decision has Zucker or any other NBC exec made in the last decade that made any sense? I fully expect them to fire Lorne Michaels from SNL and replace him with Jean Doumanian if the ratings drop any further. Poor Matt LeBlanc, if Joey had been canceled today, he probably could have been made head of some NBC department!

NBC really screwed up. Leno's image is practically ruined among the 18-34 group, and probably the 18-49 group as well. Assuming he's able to sustain enough of an auidence after this PR disaster, he's probably going to retire in 5 years (Carson was 66 when he was "forced" into retirement). Assuming Tonight Show is still a viable commodity, NBC will either have to bring Fallon into the show, or find talent outside NBC to replace Jay. And trust me, it'll be hard to find someone willing to take the job without a solid contract ("one hour show at 11:35 or nothing" for starters) assuming that Leno doesn't get an itch to take the seat again, or some exec make a harebrained decision to put him back in the seat in 2017 or 2018.

Even if this was some idiotic decision from the NBC execs and Leno had "no part" in the tentative decision to shuffle shows, the situation has poisoned Leno. The best decision was to retire with as much grace as possible, move on and do a antique car show or something.

Oh well.

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