Monday, January 11, 2010

Leno Drama Leading to Big Changes?

"Your local news starts right now!"

If you're like me, you hear those 6 words every single weeknight, right before KRBC News at Ten starts. It's the last thing Jay Leno says as his new show fades to black. And now, the world knows that the days of hearing that phrase are numbered. At least, in a way. But we'll revisit that in a little.

I've always had a little something of a fascination with Mr. Leno. I was never a regular Tonight Show viewer (I'm more of a Jon Stewart fan). But even when I was younger, I remember clipping a couple of headlines out of my hometown newspaper in east Texas and mailing them in to him, hoping they'd pop up on his show (to my knowledge, they never did).

Then in high school, I got my start in television because of another Leno bit. Through a scheduling error, I found myself in Media Technology class ("A/V Club" to some). It allowed me and some of my friends to roam around the halls of our school, filming whatever we could find that was interesting that was worthy of filming. Then one day, we had the brilliant idea of ripping off "Jaywalking". Although I'm a producer now, I was the on-camera guy for this job. We came up with some EASY questions, just to test our classmates. And sure enough, they couldn't answer.

Flash forward a few months: several installations of "Hallwalkin'" later, and I'm something of a campus celebrity. And in a good way, too! You'd be surprised how many people want to be on TV, even if it's just broadcast through the school, and even if they know they're going to look dumb if they can't answer easy questions.

Now, years later, Jay Leno's show comes on right before mine. But thanks to a series of questionable moves by the big guys at 30 Rock, that experiment appears to be ending soon, and Leno will be out of prime time. I didn't work for KRBC when The Jay Leno Show launched, but I remember the contention that went on before the show started. Affiliates around the country weren't happy about it. Case in point: The NBC station in Boston -- Leno's hometown, mind you -- initially refused to even run his show, and only did so because NBC, shall we say, talked them into it.

I'm not sure how I feel about this whole saga... I've heard it said that the late night drama is more interesting than the late night shows, so maybe this isn't such a terrible thing after all. But what's next? NBC has let it be well known that they don't want to lose Leno, even if it means making some Major-with-a-capital-M changes. What about Conan O'Brien, who was promised The Tonight Show years ago? Does he accept his show being pushed back a half-hour? Does he bail for another network? What about Jimmy Fallon and... that other guy that comes on after Jimmy Fallon?

And of course, what of KRBC in Abilene, Texas? We have no control over what shows the network picks to run before our newscast starts. We're just spectators, along with the rest of the country.

So, I want to know what you think. Are you on Team Jay? Team Conan? Do you think, like I do, that Randy Turner should be the new host of The Tonight Show? (He'd still be able to do news and weather for KRBC... the guy is just that good). Or do you think people should just turn off the TV and curl up with a good book... after watching the 10 o'clock news, of course.

1 comment:

  1. I have really enjoyed Jay Leno @ 9pm. I usually go to bed after the news and so I never watched it when it came on at 10:30. It has come to be a habit and I will miss it.