In the continuing saga of how badly can NBC handle their late night line-up, it’s been announced that Jay Leno’s last Tonight Show will air on Feb 6, 2014. NBC will be taking him off the air well in advance of his contract expiring in September. Leno’s staff will be paid through September as will Jay. This will keep Leno from going to another network for 7 or 8 months in an effort to keep Leno silent.
NBC has handled this whole situation about as badly as NBC normally handles these things. You remember how they handled this 20+ years ago when the great Johnny Carson retired? Well they are doing it again (ironically though, Leno is on the other side this time). NBC wants a hip young star to take over the show. They are getting murdered by younger demographic skewing shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Waiting in the wings is their young star Jimmy Fallon. They will be moving Fallon up to replace Leno and they will bring in another SNL star (and their head writer) Seth Meyers.
Now I’m not here to say that Leno hasn’t gotten old and stale and that he deserves to stay on the show. I don’t think he is unfunny, but I don’t think he is very funny either. There are guys out there far funnier than he is. Is that Fallon? No I don’t think so. I think Fallon does a great job with skits but is not suited to be the host of a show. I’m not a big wig at NBC though so what do I know?
In any event, the changes are going to be made. What I think is funny in all of this is that NBC thinks they are going to silence Leno by not letting him out of his contract. I don’t know how old the people who run NBC are, but I’m wondering if they have heard of this thing called the internet. Leno doesn’t need a TV show to stay in the spot light. Remember a guy named Conan O’Brien? He very successfully used the internet to keep his name relevant while he waited out his NBC contract prior to moving his show to TBS. Leno can do the same thing. In fact, I can’t wait to see what he does when he is unfettered by the suits at NBC.
Stay tuned for to MWTVG as more news develops. I just love the drama of late night television.