I don’t get to watch a lot of late night television, but I remember being upset that I could no longer watch Letterman and Conan when Leno left The Tonight Show. However, I remember being happy that Leno was no longer on The Tonight Show. Then they announced that they were giving Leno a prime time show. That’s when I wondered if everyone had forgotten that Jay Leno wasn’t funny.
Thankfully, his new prime time show reminded everyone how funny he wasn’t. Or did it?
Leno’s ratings are in the crapper. His crappy ratings are hurting the ratings for the local news shows which then hurt the ratings for The Tonight Show. Even though Leno is no longer the host, he still manages to ruin The Tonight Show. Any reasonable person sees the obvious solution to this problem. Fire Jay Leno. Cancel his show and send him back to his garage to wax his collection of cars. Let Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon do their thing. Those guys are funny. (I’ve done a 180º Jimmy Fallon. Terrible on SNL, good as a talk show host.)
NBC doesn’t see it. They insist on giving Jay Leno TV time. NBC is managing to fuck up a very simple situation and they are screwing Jimmy and Conan in the process. Conan has taken a stand and he has earned the sympathy of the people. Good for him. If he leaves NBC, he’ll get another job somewhere else and he’ll be great. However, I wonder if that’s going to happen.
I’m afraid that this whole little controversy is only going to reassure NBC that they’re doing the right thing by trying to keep Leno. There is no doubt in my mind that this mess has increased ratings for all three shows. Everyone wants to see what Leno, Conan and Fallon are going to say about the situation. Dee and I tuned in to Leno’s show for the first time since the show debuted (we could only stand about 10 minutes). I’ve watched Conan’s monologues online and tried my best to stay up for his show. Their ratings are way up in my house. I’d guess that’s happening all over America.
In the meantime, everyone has forgotten about Letterman and Craig Ferguson. Everyone has also forgotten that those guys are consistently funnier each night than any of NBC’s crew.
Note to NBC: If you are looking to hire someone that is marginally funny to fill Jay Leno’s prime time slot, give me a call.