Monday, January 18, 2010

The Leno/Conan Debacle

It looks like NBC is going to pull the plug on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, and replace him with Leno.

I understand that NBC is a network, and doesn't have any vested interest in "loyalty" or "promises" so I don't feel particularly betrayed, as many people seem to feel. Still, their plan to replace Conan with Leno doesn't make much sense since Leno's new show has faltered as Conan's lead in, which certainly didn't help the new Tonight Show.

NBC executives have blamed Conan for not tweaking his show to appeal to mass audiences, but I disagree. I think that Conan has absolutely taken his new time slot into consideration while trying to retain some artistic integrity. His show isn't as off-beat as "Late Night" was, but he isn't Leno, and executives can't expect him to be.

That said, I don't see why they would want another Leno anyway. Jay Leno isn't funny, and never has been. Again, I realize the network doesn't have an interest in the quality of their programming as long as the ratings are good, but regardless, Leno's audience is getting older, going to nursing homes, having strokes, losing their sight and hearing, and just generally dying off. Conan's audience on the other hand can drive cars, feed themselves and most importantly, buy shit, so I do think he was a good investment, but what does NBC know about good investments? The Olympics, I am looking at you. Plus, this whole public relations nightmare can't bode well for the new, old Tonight Show.

I've been a fan of Conan for a long time. I've been watching since Andy was on "Late Night" the first time-- back in the days of the Masturbating Bear and The Fed Ex Pope, so I have to admit I'm a little biased, but I think Leno is done. Personally, I'll follow Conan anywhere, and I think his show would probably be better on another network that doesn't try to dilute his sense of humor.

No comments: