Tuesday, June 02, 2009

TENSION BEHIND THE SCENES WITH THE NEW LENO SHOW

Watched the first Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien and it was weird, just weird. You tune in, and you're wondering where the hell Jay Leno is. It just doesn't feel right, for some reason.

I know it was weird when Dave Letterman started out at CBS, too, but this is different. It's like the inmates from Late Night have taken over the Tonight Show asylum and turned it into Late Night. Yet the cast seems to be trying to channel the Johnny Carson show at the same time. It's a weird dynamic in play, and it doesn't work --these guys need to be their New York selves. Andy Richter, especially, needs to drop the Ed McMahon routine right away and go back to being himself. He was laughing way too much at the jokes.

Meanwhile, a report from Kim Masters at the Daily Beast indicates there is word of tension behind the scenes already at the new Jay Leno Show. Apparently there are stories going around of the network bossing him around and ordering him to pare staff, and telling him to put on more comedy bits for prime time. They want to try and avoid booking wars with the new O'Brien Tonight Show and give people something to watch after Leno is over.

I guess this tinkering from on high might be in response to all those reports from people saying they have no need to stay up late under the new NBC arrangement. People are bragging on these blogs everywhere about how they plan to hit the sack as soon as Jay's new show is over. That wasn't supposed to be part of the grand NBC plan -- losing regular viewers to bed at 11 o'clock. They still want people to tune in to the Conan show.

You can bet that never happened under Carson -- people saying they would rather go to sleep. Yet so many people are saying late night television is finished and the glory days are over, so why not go to bed early?

You get the feeling this new Leno show might be a train wreck waiting to happen, based on these reports? Leave it to NBC to again find a way to mess things completely up in late night.

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Oh, and in other news I heard Heidi and Spencer quit I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here after a single episode, which doesn't surprise me at all and is more fodder for that rant I plan to do about how big a mess US TV is at the moment.

Bob Sassone at TV Squad does not pull any punches in beating up this show: "Every time I think I've seen the worst of television, another show comes along to scrape the bottom of the barrel. This is that show. It's stupid and despicable in almost every single way."

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