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December 9, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 9, 2008 |

No one loathes Jay Leno as I do. I have an irrational hatred of the man, as he’s represented — to me, anyways — the Middle-American, Applebee’s and Thomas Kinkaid mentality that’s tarnished the late night landscape for years now. Am I still bitter that he stole the “Tonight Show” from Letterman and fractured the late-night audience? Of course. Am I pissed off that most of Leno’s gags were stolen from Letterman? Absolutely. Does that make him any less detestable? No sir. He’s a cancerous rot. A vile, large-chinned unfunny little man who trades in puns and lame zingers.

And now he’s gonna be on in primetime five nights a week.

That’s right. NBC, in its idiotic wisdom, has decided that, instead of losing Leno to another network when Conan O’Brien takes over the “Tonight Show” next May, they’re gonna just go ahead and hire him and plug him into the 10:00 slot Monday through Friday. It is, in fact, the same deal they offered Letterman all those years ago, which they’d hoped would keep him on the network. Letterman wisely turned down the offer. Because he’s not an moron.

How bad is this idea? It’s horrific. It’s network suicide. Who is gonna watch Leno and then the “Tonight Show” and then “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” They’re basically running three talk shows in a row, five nights a week, broken up only by a half hour of local news. Leno is gonna pilfer half of Conan’s guest. Leno is gonna beat Conan to the punch on all the good jokes. And Leno is gonna completely dilute the staying power of “The Tonight Show.” At the same time, no one is gonna tune in five nights a week to watch Leno when he’s up against actual network programming. The novelty of a primetime, late evening talk show, if there even is one to begin with, is gonna wear off in a few weeks or months, and Leno’s late-evening show is gonna tank, right along with “The Tonight Show.” And nobody is gonna tune in religiously to Leno. The people who watch Leno are the folks who have nothing else to do at 11:30 every night and find Letterman to be too subversive for their tastes (which is saying something about their tolerance for subversiveness, considering just how tame Dave has been over the last decade). There are, like, five people who love Leno. Everyone else that watches it does so because they’re too goddamn lazy to change the channel.

I’m hopping pissed.

The good news for NBC is that they only have to program two hours of television five nights a week, which is fine right now because NBC doesn’t even have two hours of decent programming a night. And “ER” is gone in May, which has been the only successful show they’ve had in the 10:00 hour in years. But this isn’t the solution. This is a network completely giving up. Throwing its hands in the air. The mighty Peacock has lost its strut.

Late night shows do not belong in primetime. Period. Jay Leno doesn’t belong on television, much less prime time. What. the. hell. Itchy itchy asshole suck!

My Life Just Jumped the Shark / Dustin Rowles

Industry | December 9, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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