Monday, September 14, 2009

Jay Leno to start sucking in primetime tonight

I should probably be writing this for my television blog but here I have no filter (and a far larger audience). That's the beauty of talking about tonight's debut of "The Jay Leno Show" tonight at 9 PM (central) on NBC. The biggest problem with Jay Leno is that his act on TV is bland. I'm surprised that his show at 10:35 PM drew enough audience to stay at number one for fifteen-plus years because I was unaware that senior citizens stayed up so late.

Leno's act is safe. There is no edge. Moving him to 9 PM (and gutting five hours of what could be original, scripted programming) could very well be the death of network television as we know it. Sadly, it all boils down to saving money. NBC has made countless mistakes in the programming area in teh past decade. They lost any grip they had on sports programming, never recovered from the ending of "Seinfeld" and failed to properly prepare when they knew that "Friends" and "E.R." couldn't last forever. They showed that their greatest weakness was being unable to change. They are stiff in their workings. NBC spent the past decade digging their own grave.

It even shows locally with NBC affiliate KARE-TV (Channel 11) sliding to number two in the 10 PM news ratings behind CBS affiliate WCCO-TV (channel 4). On the local front KARE seemed to follow suit by losing flashy anchorman Paul Magers to the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles (where he propelled the CBS affiliate there from fourth to first in local news ratings). That move was largely about money, too. Hell, they even lost their Paul Magers replacement, Frank Vascellero, to WCCO where some are saying that he's the eventual face of WCCO's news team.

But back to Jay Leno. While he is a sincere guy who truly cares about his staff, his act seems like it's been largely mailed in for the past few years. It almost seems like he saves his best stuff for his stand-up act as he tours the casino circuit while his former competitor, David Letterman, struck gold this summer by lurching ahead to number one in late night and continuing to be quirky with his monologue and behavior and actually asking guests questions rather than letting guests simply run thier lines and pimp their shit.

In the long run, if Leno succeeds it could be the end of scripted programming at 9 PM. It could be good in shaking up the rigid scheduling the networks have and free local affiliates to shift shows to where they work best with their local audiences. But it could be bad because a talk show is cheap. A talk show is a cop out in primetime and after Leno's show starts slipping in the ratings, expect the show to trim staff to keep costs down and with that quality and entertainment value will slide and the show's eventual downward spiral will begin and while I never hope for someone to fail, this sort of failure would be best for America's entertainment future.

So I've been away for well over a week but MinnPics will return in all its glory with all things Minnesota in photography! Check it out!


noisysmile said...

Forgive me for not knowing, but takes the pictures for MinnPics?

noisysmile said...

but WHO takes the. . .

silly typo

Sornie said...

I glean the photos featured on MinnPics from thousands of contacts on Flickr and filter a few thousand down to a few per day.

People in the Sun said...

Forgive me for not knowing, but what's a "Jay Leno"?

snowelf said...

I am not a fan of talk television at all. Call me old school, but I'd rather watch a drama/sitcom, something that tells a story any day. I miss shows that suck me in so hard I am counting down the days to the next part of the story. TV rarely does that any more. I miss that.