Leave it to Jay Leno to fire a publicity shot heard ’round the web and world to announce something as trivial as his television show moving an hour and a half ahead of its normal time. Yes, it’s true folks: Jay Leno will be starring in his very own first of its kind Late Night talk show to feature… (drum roll please!)… exactly the same content as it currently does! I would imagine that writing the latest Leno time-shift article was about as easy as changing all the numbers in the exact same 1992 media brief (announcing Leno’s initial entry to the Late Night game). Last night’s opening monologue featured jokes about his “new” gig. They were so funny I forgot to laugh.
I can picture the conversation that happened during the 10th straight NBC TV programming meeting in a week:
“What if ‘old’ is the new ‘new’?” asks a writer. “You’re crazy!” blasts Ben Silverman. “Now hold on a second,” says another writer. “What if we just put Jay Leno in our most unsuccessful timeslot… every night of the week?” “I think you’re on to something,” shouts an executive. “Everyone loves Jay Leno!”
This post might seem a bit biased. I was raised Letterman (thank you very much) and the smooth-talking, big chin grinning car enthusiast never really did it for me. But regardless, I’m scratching my head about this decision for Leno to get a new show. Make no mistake, it’s going to be identical. I read one story that had the gall to defend his leaving behind the desk and backdrop as a point of distinction. Doesn’t this seem like Michael Jordan returning to the Wizards with an earring and a gut? Or doesn’t it remind you of NBC’s decision to cancel Scrubs and then its failed attempt to win back the rights to it?
Seinfeld is still remembered as one of the all-time greatest sitcoms because it left on top; not because it left on top and then came back at a different timeslot. Personally, I think Conan should boycott his broadcast until the new Leno show dissolves. If I were him, I’d be pissed as hell that someone with more hair, who’s slower (and older), was still trying to steal my limelight even after he’d legally signed a deal to hand it over.