Sunday, January 10, 2010

He Took Jay’s Job!

I remember when Johnny Carson retired after being the host of The Tonight Show for 30 years, Jay Leno was chosen to replace him. When Johnny Carson left The Tonight Show, he truly retired from the entertainment business. The point I am trying to make is that, Johnny Carson left The Tonight Show because he wanted to retire.

Jay Leno did not retire from The Tonight Show. He was booted after being the host for 17 years. He was not booted for saying something offensive or for declining viewership. He was booted because NBC was too scared to imagine Conan O’Brien leaving them for another network to have his show on at the same time as The Tonight Show.

This is the Entertainment Industry’s version of “Younger, Faster, Cheaper, Better.”

But it is backfiring big-time.

David Letterman used to joke around about being #3 in the ratings behind both Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. Now David Letterman’s show is ranked #1 in front of both of them. Why is this? In my opinion, it is because no one messed with his show.

NBC executives were so worried of losing Conan O’Brien, that they took The Tonight Show away from Jay Leno and gave it to Conan. They announced this a few years ahead of time so everyone can prepare for the change. It was also reported that Conan’s contract includes a $40 million penalty if NBC takes away The Tonight Show from him. What were they thinking? Did they really have to make the penalty on themselves that high? Conan O’Brien is funny, but NBC completely tied their hands behind their own backs by doing this.

Now The Jay Leno Show, which is on for an hour before Conan, is tanking in the ratings. In addition, Conan’s show is doing poorly to The David Letterman Show. When I would watch some of the new Tonight Show, I cannot hold back the feeling that I am watching a man (Conan) who stole another man’s job. It feels different to me to watch Conan now than it did when he was on at his old time slot. I believe that Conan is probably an extremely nice guy, but not only did he step on Jay Leno’s toes, it feels like he smashed them and you can see the bloody footprints on the floor as Jay had to walk away. In a way, NBC has turned Conan O’Brien into the villain, Jay Leno into the victim, and thrown their ratings into the toilet.

Now there is talk of moving Jay Leno back to the 11:35 time slot for a 30-minute show and then have The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien afterwards. Will this work? I don’t know, but it is clear that NBC made some bad decisions and any change would be better than the status quo.

I want to clarify that I love NBC. I also prefer to get my news from NSNBC than from any other organization. I also think that Jay Leno is one of the nicest human beings in Hollywood. But from my view, I just have a negative view about Conan O’Brien because I feel that he stole, not inherited, Jay Leno’s show from him. Did anyone at NBC ask themselves this question, “Will people be angry at Conan O’Brien for taking Jay Leno’s show from him?”

I think that Conan should address that question, because a lot of people are secretly thinking it. From my view, Conan took Jay’s job while knowing that Jay Leno wanted to continue to host The Tonight Show. I have always viewed Conan as being very funny and talented, but I cannot help but to have a negative view of Conan O’Brien.


Blogger Akil said...

There is a false premise here that you are working under that may change your stance. Jay Leno announced his retirement, he would leave the show at the end of 2009. The plan was always to replace him just as with Johnny Carson, so Conan would replace him, and at the time Fallon and Stewarts names were rumored to take over. Down the line Leno changed his mind, and NBC feared him going to a rival network, so they offered him the 11pm show to keep him around. The deal was already inked with Conan, and Fallon had already been slated to take Conan's show. So in truth, Conan didn't take anything from Leno, Jay gave it up, then changed his mind down the road and NBC scrambled to keep him. By doing so NBC destroyed their lineup, killed their ratings, and Leno is the worst rated thing on television simply because it's time for him to go. Like him or not, his time is up and I feel his ratings show that.

1:58 PM  

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