Jay, Conan and Jeff!

The advice was initially to dump Jay and move on to a more upscale Conan to reach the American people for the Tonight Show.  Jeff Zucker made this decision on his own:  Article from TV News….

Zucker on Charlie Rose Show–Rose: NBC in ‘Shambles’; Zucker: That’s ‘Unfair’ Reuters; CharlieRose.com

In an interview on PBS’ “Charlie Rose” on Monday, NBC Universal head Jeff Zucker said he had shown leadership and “guts” in his handling of the Jay Leno-Conan O’Brien drama, Reuters reports.

He said his job was to take chances, noting, “Nothing tried, nothing gained.”

 When Rose opened the show saying that NBC was in “shambles,” Zucker’s immediate retort was that that assessment was “unfair” to the people who worked at the company.

 In hindsight, Zucker said  the move of Leno to prime time was a mistake, adding “And I think it’s the sign of a leader to step up and say, you know, when something’s not working, to have the guts to reverse it. Leadership is about taking chances and taking risks. And also, leadership is about acknowledging when they don’t work.”


This PR disaster has caused Conan to bail.  Now our comments:

Jay Leno held the number one spot at 11:30pm over David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel before Conan took over.  There is little doubt that it was time for Jay to do a fairly broad reaching renovation of the Tonight Show.  There was a lot of dumb stuff, a lot of unredeeming dialogue and the boredom was starting to debilitate the character of the entire show.  Jay’s Man on the Street Interviews, his uncelebrity quiz show, his dumb and dumber boy-girl interviews were stupid and ridiculous.  Jay’s loyalty to his band was overzealous.  He needed to upscale and he needed to focus more on new musical talent, Jay skits and maybe more audience participation interviews.   Jay, evidently wasn’t willing to make those changes and Jeff Zucker pulled the plug and gave Conan the helm, in spite of Conan’s negatives!

When Jay moved to the 10pm time slot, nothing changed.  The Tonight Show simply moved to an earlier time slot, without new writers, without new material it was going to be exactly what it was: Unwatched!

Then you take Conan.  Take him far away…by the way.  He needed to make huge changes to become popular on the Tonight Show.  He did nothing different….with his stupifying, unredeeming, so-called humor failing like an early Russian Rocket launch.  It all blew up on the pad.  Conan was not going to change – and simply thought…..his old, tired jazz exhibited on Late Night would fly at the Tonight Show time slot.  Nobody watched.  Nobody was going to ever watch.  People had loyalty to Jay….but that loyalty did not include going to the 10 o’clock slot to watch him.  The fact is that nobody cared and sought intelligent alternatives on a variety of other channels including replays of their own local news.

So, Conan now has taken his ball and glove and will be leaving the field of play.  Good ridance……but we will now be welcoming back Jay Leno……to his old spot ..for a while.  Unless Jay makes a huge change to his Tonight Show………he too will fall prey to people choosing alternative programming.  Jay will have about two months to show…that he too can make reasonable and necessary upscale changes to the Tonight Show.  The Ghost of Johnny Carson…..is hopeful that Jay can make those changes……and be able to inspire the nation again.

For those with other choices in talk show host…..Jimmy Kimmel is great, but he would have to lose all his relatives and his hardcore crassness.  Jimmy Fallon doesn’t quite have the maturity to reach beyond his Saturday Night Live roots.

Hey, Jeff Foxworthy and George Lopez have great talent…..but both are too polarizing to be the “Voice of a Nation”!  There are a substantial supply of intelligent, over-paid talking heads who would love this job…..but would just as easily fail quickly.  There needs to be a balance between intelligence and decent humorous commentary.  Hopefully, Jay Leno…..can keep this gig.  He has lots of things going for him….including “like-a-bility”…..which Conan O’Brien never suffered from!  Good luck Jeff Zucker.  If Jay fails….you will fail and just a quickly should be looking for work as a “Mortgage Banker” for Goldman-Sachs!

About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk show...is the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.