NBC seems to have taken a cue from the print media: When changes you make to your product don’t reap immediate rewards, pull the plug. Right now. Don’t give it a chance to develop, to innovate and grow an audience. Just kill it now.
And so NBC is killing the Jay Leno Prime Time Experiment. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea. But rather than send Jay off to pasture, NBC is shoveling 15 pounds of, um, stuff, into a 10-pound sack.
To take that analogy of, um, stuff, a little further: Late-night TV is kind of a reverse corollary to being on a hill. On a hill, the um, stuff, rolls down. On late-night TV the um, stuff, gets pushed later and later. If you live in a valley, the guy at the bottom of the hill catches all the stuff. And in the case of late-night TV, the guy with the latest show catches more, um, stuff. A funny happened, though. Jay found the stuff in Prime Time wasn’t what he thought it would be. He apparently wants his old stuff back, and he wants Conan O’Brien to give him his old stuff back, because apparently that’s the really good, um, stuff. And Jimmy Fallon is about to start getting more stuff sent his way. He’s gonna need a bigger sack. Or a really big raincoat.
Conan O’Brien has decided he will not be the good Company Man and play along with NBC’s plans to kick Jay Leno back to the 11:30 (or 11:35, 11:36 whatever) slot and push Conan’s Tonight Show and Jimmy Fallon’s Whatever Show further into the night.
Instead, he issued a thoughtful, sane response with a fun punchline at the end (he is a comedian, after all).
And NBC executives end up looking like clowns.