Conan/Leno Update: We Live In A World Of Half-Steps And Meaningless Compromise

The New York Times has an update on NBC’s supposed (but still unofficial? It is 2010, NBC, it is time to CONTROL THE STORY) plans for the late night lineup:

Pressed by affiliates and shrinking ratings, NBC has a plan in the works to radically alter its late-night television lineup, restoring Jay Leno to his old spot at 11:35 each weeknight, while pushing the man who replaced him, Conan O’Brien, to a starting time of 12:05 a.m.

And while NBC officially said no final decision on the plan had been made, two senior NBC executives who had talked to the top management about the moves said that under the plan being discussed, Mr. Leno would definitely shift back to 11:35 but in a half-hour format, while Mr. O’Brien would slide back his start time by a half hour and then produce an hourlong show.

The third NBC late-night star, Jimmy Fallon, would then begin his show at 1:05 a.m., the executives said. The revised lineup would go into effect after NBC concludes its coverage of the Winter Olympics on Feb. 28. NBC will pre-empt its prime-time and late-night lineup for more than two weeks to cover the Olympics, creating a natural break in which to put the late-night changes into effect.

So, there you go (maybe).

This, of course, does nothing to solve the problem of The Jay Leno Show* being awful, because a half-hour-long nightmare still leaves you just as sweaty and panicked as an hour-long one. And it won’t help to quell NBC’s concerns that Conan O’Brien is dragging down the Tonight Show’s ratings because the lead-in to the Tonight Show will still be The Jay Leno’s Miserable Power Move. Not to mention who starts watching TV at midnight anymore? Anyone who is still awake is poking people on Facebook, or alphabetizing their Pogs. Probably. And if you are watching late night television, by the time you get to Fallon your brain will have jellified and dripped out through your nasal cavity, because what NBC does not seem to realize is that THERE ARE ONLY SO MANY INTERVIEWS WITH SIENNA MILLER THAT A HUMAN BEING CAN WATCH IN A ROW.

Oh well. No one ever said that NBC was not excellent at remaining a troubled and struggling network.

The good news is that this means they will actually have some watchable TV on at 10PM! Neat! I can’t wait to see how they avoid taking any chances and just rip-off Bones on the night that they aren’t launching a new Law & Order spin-off.

But seriously, shut up, Jay Leno



*A note to fans of The Jay Leno Show: I recognize that if I had ever been a fan of Jay Leno, I would have seen his replacement by Conan O’Brien on the Tonight Show as a bizarre and inexplicable betrayal on the part of the network, and I would see his return in the 10PM slot as a welcome return of a beloved hero. I would find anyone complaining about him to be missing the larger point, which is that he is a popular entertainer, and NBC is a business, and it is their job to provide things that people want. As the show suffered in the ratings and received negative criticism, I might agree with and understand some of the complaints, but I would nevertheless be concerned that everyone’s reactionary demand that Jay Leno just be fired would suggest a dangerous breach of contract–because Jay Leno does have a contract–that could open the door to a future in which no creative and talented person was legally safe from the impetuous and short-sighted demands of advertisers. This would lead to an entertainment industry even more dominated by the flitting whims of unimaginative people trying to sell products that no one needs. There would be no interest in allowing a project or performer to develop or find his/her audience because their contract would be rendered meaningless, and there would be no interest or ambition to find something “new.” The thing is that I am not a fan of Jay Leno, and I think The Jay Leno Show is a bald-faced power-grab from a mediocre talent suffocating on his own ambition and materialistic need for MORE ANTIQUE CARS to PUT IN HIS AIRPLANE HANGAR. So I just basically ignore all of these otherwise completely valid points.