Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Late Night War

Late Night War

I like to think that my handle only pays tribute to the show that caused my strange personality. But in more senses than one it rings true. Television is a funny business. Being apart of it for all these years I have seen my share of strange business moves. Cancellations of shows that, while I did not like, I understood from a business stand point had to be done. Networks pull themselves out of the ground and make names for themselves. Others dropping off the nelison ratings board. But nothing is as strange as the move I saw NBC take.

In 2009, with fear that Conan's contract ending and the idea that he would jump ship to another network to have his own "Tonight show" time slot, NBC made the deal that Conan would replace Leno as the host of the Tonight show. Leno would waddle his way back to his car fixing and that would be that. The passing of the torch to the new class. Not going to happen.

Leno, not pleased with being pushed out signed a new deal taking all the power away from Conan. He must have talked to some serious heads at NBC and threatened to start up a new late night talk show at the rival networks because he one upped the situation and caused a world of hurt here.

In a surprise move, Jay Leno is taking over the 10 p.m. slot weeknights on NBC.

The move is a huge coup for NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker, who has long said he wanted to keep both Leno and his replacement, Conan O’Brien, in the NBC family.

The move would be a cost-effective manner in which to essentially cut down the amount of hours it must program with fare from the entertainment division.
The move would also bring to an end a potentially messy transition in the coming year that had industry speculation centered on Leno potentially moving to ABC, which would set up a three-way brawl for the dwindling late-night dollars between Leno, O’Brien and CBS’s David Letterman.

Leno’s start date is undecided, but expected to be by next fall.

Leno takes over the 10pm prime time slot five days a week. This is some crazy news. Not only does it mean that the big move that Conan was going to make is moot now, as the current line up simply moves up an hour, but it also means that the talent pool for Conan's future Tonight show is going to be fighting for guest to fill up the slot.

Conan is moving his production out to Los Angeles. While in New York Conan doesn't face the same situation that if someone is going to try to promote their show/film/etc, they're going to want to do it when the most people are watching. Prime time. So Conan's guest pool is going to get smaller and smaller.

Same reaction, buddy. Same reaction.

Add in to this whole mess that now Jay Leno is in the 10pm time slot. That's prime real estate in the television industry. While Fox and CW have given up original programing, only CBS, ABC and NBC were still fighting hard for those ratings. Leno essentially canceled five prime time programs with that simple move. As if it was a terrible thing when you think about how much NBC will be saving by not having to produce anything original for the ten o'clock hour while still paying Leno a much smaller fee than it takes to make an episode or two of those new shows.

This is a serious power play and if I was Conan right now, I'd be re-reading my contract to see if there's any way out of this. It's not what he signed up for as he was expecting to be the face of the tonight show. By the time the tonight show comes on, all those who watched the Leno era tonight show won't bother to stay up and watch the new show. Way to go and eat away at your potential viewers, NBC.

Websters Definition of TOOL

This isn't much of a surprise. To be honest, NBC went from being rated #1 to what they are currently. Firing massive amounts of employees, killing a lot of the creative TV shows and just going red tape happy in killing anything and everything they could possibly in some effort to try to regain viewers.

With all this news it is hard to pay attention to the fact that Jimmy Fallon is taking over Conan's spot as late show host. How the fuck did this happen? At least one person will be laughing at his jokes... himself. The man annoys me. Even more confusing is how he got The Roots to be his house band.. Either way, looks like the late night tool Carson gets some company before being replaced with ol' Jim here.

It certainly is some WeirdTV.

No comments: