Posts tagged ‘nbc’

Back to the Late Shift

Andy Ihnatko has a great post up that takes stock of the current kerfuffle in NBC’s late night and the historical background. Like him, I was a huge fan of The Late Shift, Bill Carter’s tell-all book about the last major battle back when Carson retired and it was Leno vs. Letterman for the Tonight Show crown.

Of course, Leno won that battle, and lost in ratings for a bit, only to come back and basically take the lead over Letterman for a good long time. Then Conan O’Brien got named the new Tonight Show host, Leno was given this disastrous 10 p.m. five-nights-a-week series, that series tanked hard, and NBC seems to think it can hit some big reset button and make everyone happy and get Leno back at 11:35 p.m. and then there will be dancing in the streets.


I’m highly skeptical, and I think that’s what’s going to be the ongoing disaster to watch here: Will this mythical Jay Leno fanbase who have had no interest in him at 10 p.m. suddenly return to the 11:35 p.m. timeslot to watch his show again? Why would they? Was it really that they just HAD to have Jay Leno at that specific time or they weren’t interested?

Just as a mess, I think it’s also done untold damage to Jay Leno’s “image,” such as it was. Sure, he was #1 in 2004 when the “Conan gets Tonight in 2009” scheme was hatched, but as Andy points out, he went along with it and seems to have done so happily. Now he’s stuck in a bad timeslot doing a bad show that no one is watching, and his response is to act like he’s being somehow wronged by a strategy he went happily along with until it turned against him? Meanwhile, Conan seems to have gained universal support as far as I’ve seen, approaching the situation with class and restraint and humor.

You also have to wonder, overall: Does The Tonight Show matter anymore, and if so, how? Ratings have gone down with Conan, but his audience may not be solely the eyeballs that Nielsen ticks off. All he needs is one good viral bit on Hulu to ignite his awareness beyond where it is now. Or are his viewers like me and not making it till 11:35, but happy to DVR the show to watch on the weekends or in the early evening?

And how does this address the true issue, which is that NBC’s 10 p.m. timeslot has become a desperate graveyard of abysmal ratings? Obviously canceling Leno at 10 is a good idea at this point, but how does fucking up late night at the same time help anybody but NBC, who I guess gets to avoid paying out any contract penalties, but would I think also lose a shitload of money by continuing their ratings tailspin, now not just in prime-time but in late night as well?

Anyway. I fucking hate Leno. He’s a sucking hole of comedy failure. He needs to get off the airwaves. Read Andy’s piece, it’s more articulate than I could ever be.



January 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment


My wife isn’t sold at all on Community, the new sitcom on NBC Thursday nights starring Joel McHale and Chevy Chase. I’m not 100% sold either, but I think there’s enough THERE there to indicate potential.

community nbc comedy

Her big complaint, and it’s totally valid, is that the relationships between the characters essentially strain credibility to the point of breaking. This is especially true for the two “romantic” leads, Jeff (McHale) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs, to the immediate left of McHale above). It requires significant and constant suspension of disbelief to accept that these two would continue to enjoy the mildly flirtatious connection they share, especially since he’s at heart a barely likeable (if quite funny) jerk and she seems like a pretty traditional damaged, brittle (hence the name! oh, irony), closed-up single lady.

For that matter, all of the relationships and connections that provide the show’s central premise are pretty forced. It’s about a community college, or more specifically, a group of seven students at a community college who are brought together in the show’s first episode to form a Spanish study group that immediately studies absolutely no Spanish, instead descending into a mix between group therapy and random bonding.

Why would these people spend any time together past the first ten minutes of the first episode? The only reasonable answer is, “Because it’s a TV show,” and I think ultimately that’s going to have to suffice. The premise and plotting is such pure situation comedy that it’s jarring up against the night’s other series, which are also sitcoms but are able to disguise their plotting mechanics and any strained character connections by a more reasonable shared environment, the workplace.


September 25, 2009 at 2:40 pm 1 comment

“A $300 million cinematic blockbuster in real time”

Roger Ebert has a great post about the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics on Friday night, and especially some useful background on their artistic director, Zhang Yimou.

It was a breathtaking artistic achievement, light years beyond what I would have expected from such a ceremony. I would embed some video, but NBC has been siccing corporate lawyers on YouTube all weekend, apparently, and their site doesn’t provide any embed links for their clips. Their NBC Encore section has a few good clips, but they’re long.

August 11, 2008 at 10:28 am Leave a comment


Unsolicited opinions, snarky comments, and links aplenty—one man’s endless journey through the wild, wacky worlds of pop culture, fatherhood, and life in Central Florida.

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