Despite several months of bad press and a terrible prime time show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has regained the lead in the Late Night ratings scrum. Through it all, Leno has somehow managed to win back 82% of the audience he had before moving to a 10pm prime time show. The Late Show with David Letterman has slipped back into second place, but the gap between the two shows is significantly smaller than it was before Conan O’Brien took over the once proud NBC franchise. The problem both shows are facing though is an aging audience, with Leno averaging viewers aged 56 and Letterman 54. Viewers in the coveted 18-34 bracket are instead tuning into cable programing on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and Comedy Central. This could be an important note for Conan, who could jump to cable for a new show. And thus concludes our ratings lesson for the day. Read more at Variety.
Tag Archives: Leno
It’s hard to remember that in the midst of the Late Night Controversy that just ended, we had our first big cancellation of the year with the horrid Jay Leno Show. Sadly, that means it’s time to start Bubble Watch, a semi-regular feature where we check in on some notable shows that are on the bubble of being canceled or renewed. We’ve developed a scale: 0 for goner, 5 for up in the air, and 10 for sticking around. We’ll keep updates coming as we hear them, but here’s what we have in the early goings:
Better Off Ted
Ted hasn’t exactly been a ratings winner in its short time on the air, despite it’s quirky charm. The chances of cancellation seem pretty high given its anemic numbers, but there’s still hope it could become a cheap summer show or jump to another network. Content wise, the best place it would fit would be Comedy Central or FX, but it’s a little to smart of Comedy Central and not quite edgy enough for those brash folks at FX. Either way, we’re hoping Veridian is around for a little longer.
Cancellation Scale: 1
For a show that was so good when it started, Heroes‘ slow fall from the top has at times been painful to watch. Its ratings this season have been way down, hardly resembling the hit of season one. With a budget that’s probably too big for cable, I’d say the cancellation chances are very high. At least we’ll get Zachary Quinto in another Star Trek movie.
Cancellation Scale: 0
Like Heroes, Scrubs was once a good show. When ABC picked it up for last season, it was about giving the original cast and characters an ending. This season has more or less been a spin-off, but it’s foolishly been branded with the franchise name. It’s been just plain bad, in content and in the ratings, and is almost assuredly done.
Cancellation Scale: 0
Parks and Recreation / Community
Both of these shows are in similar boats, so we’ll group them together. Parks and Rec suffered from bad reviews in its first year, but has built up a following in its terrific second year. Community has a solid following too as the lead-off hitter in NBC’s comedy lineup. The chances for both are pretty good as a result of the Jay Leno cancellation. Keep in mind, NBC has to fill 5 hours a week now in his old slot, not to mention holes in its lineup next year from possible cancellations of Heroes, Trauma, and Mercy. They aren’t guaranteed to stick around, but the chances are on the good side.
Cancellation Scale: 6
A big time bubble show, Fringe is most likely in a dogfight with Lie to Me as to which show is going to stick around, and I’m hinging my bet on Lie to Me, mostly because Fringe has been a disappointment, while Lie to Me has done about what’s expected. There’s a chance both could stick around, but doubtful.
Cancellation Scale: 5
Another highly touted sci-fi (excuse me, syfy) show that hasn’t done very well is ABC’s Flash Forward, and the chances of it sticking around aren’t very good. It comes back in mid-March, and if it continues to slide (and what show doesn’t after being off the air that long mid-season), it could be a goner. If they stay steady or improve, it might be on next season, though with greatly diminished expectations.
Cancellation Scale: 4
How I Met Your Mother
The Cleveland Show
The Jay Leno Show
Well, what we knew was coming has finally happened. This morning on Today, host Meredith Vieira announced that NBC and Conan O’Brien have reached a deal to part ways. From the Wall Street Journal:
While details on the final agreement were unclear, the deal was expected to include a payout of about $32 million for Mr. O’Brien and about $12 million for his staff. It is also believed to include a nondisparagement clause, both for the 46-year-old comedian and NBC. The deal has been said to include a provision that would bar or limit Mr. OBrien from appearing on other shows or hosting his own show for a period of time, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
Among the terms of the deal, which NBC will be confirming in more detail later in the day, Conan will not be able to appear on television until September 1, when he’s free to sign someplace new. Additionally, he will not be able to take some of his intellectual property, including Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, with him when he leaves NBC. Conan’s final Tonight Show will this Friday, January 22, with guests Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell, both of whom appeared in his first week, with musical guest Neil Young. Jay Leno will return to hosting the show on March 1 after the Olympics. We’ll update you when NBC makes their announcement with new details.
While it’s not set in stone yet that Conan may head to Fox this fall, it is a definite that he will have a little time away from the TV in the coming months. What can Conan do with that time? We have a few ideas.
The most obvious thing for Conan to start with is by doing stand-up. Fans will turn out in droves to see CoCo. Not only could it keep him and his writing team sharp as they head towards a new show, it will help make his already fervent following even more fervent. This could lead to a stand-up album/DVD or a special on Comedy Central. Andy Richter could go along for the ride in what could be a live, guest-less version of Conan’s show.
Host an Online/Satellite Radio Show and/or Podcast
He could keep his writers and Andy Richter around by doing a radio show, either online or on Sirius or XM. It may not have the biggest listening audience, and for all I know, may not pay him enough, but, like doing stand-up, could keep him fresh. He could similarly go the Ricky Gervais route and create a podcast with content similar to a radio show. Either option would allow him to continue interviewing celebrity guests and, again, keep his fan base in tow.
Write a Book
Now, I’m not talking about an autobiography or an expose, but something funny. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert each generated a lot of buzz by putting out books of their own based on the humor of their shows, so why not Conan? David Cross did a book of short stories, lists, and ramblings, which might be a format Conan could do well too. Putting unused bits and jokes into book form could definitely be a big hit.
Just doing a daily blog with jokes and commentary could be enough to keep his followers satisfied. A well publicized web site could make him an internet phenomenon and create a completely uncensored, self-controlled forum for him. We’d like to formally offer him the opportunity to blog here at Tangled Up In Wires, where we think he would be an excellent addition.
Well, our Non-NBC Late Night News didn’t stick around too long. Rob Shuter, citing sources close to former Tonight Show host Jay Leno, says that Leno is considering leaving NBC in the wake of this debacle as well. Says the source:
“Now that Conan has made it clear he is leaving the troubled network, Jay is considering doing the same. They have put Jay in a terrible position. It looks like he is the reason that Conan is now without a job. Jay is a great guy and it’s not fair that due to NBC’s stupidity he looks like the bad guy,” a TV insider tells me.
“Plus, what happens when Jay does return to the 11:35 slot if his audience doesn’t immediately follow? How can he possibly trust the same network that canceled Conan after only seven months?”
For all the flack Leno has gotten over the past few days, heck, years, his leaving NBC and getting himself out of the mess would be a pretty selfless thing to do, putting aside the fact that he put the network in this predicament to begin with. It also should be noted that while Conan slammed NBC in his statement and said he wouldn’t do the show at 12:05, he left open the possibility that he’d stay if the situation could be resolved. A big step towards that would be the departure of Jay Leno. As always, we’ll keep you posted on the developments as they come along.
P.S. Jimmy Kimmel did his entire show last night as Leno. Watch here.
We’ve been holding back from commenting on the Jay Leno Situation over at NBC over the last few days for various reasons (the NFL Playoffs being a big one), but now we having something rather unfortunate to report. According to several sources, Leno’s awful primetime show will cease to be after February 12, when the network begins its Olympic coverage. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Leno will be on at 11:35 when the games are over. Here’s the gist of what that entails: Leno will get a half hour, with Conan following him at 12:05. He’ll then be followed by Jimmy Fallon at 1:05. There’s no word yet as to whether or not Conan or Jimmy have agreed to such terms, but it’s assumed that Leno has no problem screwing over his colleagues to stay in the spotlight. All in all, NBC is again showing why it is in last place among the four networks. At least they have their amazing Thursday night comedies. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the latest as it comes out.