Friday, February 20, 2009

Things I don't understand II

The continuing appeal of Jay Leno.

Tonight is the last night Conan O'Brien is doing his Late Night in New York. He's going off the air and will spend the next three months or so preparing to become the next host of The Tonight Show. Leno's swan song is, I think, towards the end of May. And I'm all in favour of O'Brien taking over The Tonight Show. I don't watch O'Brien as much as I would like because of what time he's on, but he's funny and intelligent and I wish him all the best. Hopefully moving to LA and taking over The Tonight Show won't kill what has made him so charming and fun the last few years.

I only wish that the end of Leno; that he would slink off into retirement and enjoy his ill-gotten millions on motorcycles or whatever. In the fall, NBC is going to air him five nights at a week at 10 pm EST, meaning the network is killing a whole lot of dramas (reality TV normally airs earlier) so that Leno can continue to remain on the airways.

And he's not funny. And he's not really charming or at all interesting. He's bland, safe and comes out the far end of charming and straight into smarmy. The only way he could suck up to his guests more is if he blew them on camera.

And yet he constantly beats David Letterman in the ratings. And yet he gets to destroy a chunk of prime time real estate. Furthermore, much like Celine Dion, I've yet to meet anyone who admits to watching and liking Leno.

So if no one admits to liking him, if most critics say he favours poorly in any comparison to Letterman, how he is not only still on the air, but destroying five hours of prime time TV in the fall?

I do not understand.

Last Five
1. Blinded by the light (live) - Bruce Springsteen
2. Dirty knife - Neko Case
3. I'm your villain - Franz Ferdinand
4. The downward road - The Pursuit of Happiness
5. Steam - Peter Gabriel*


Adam Snider said...

My guess would be that Leno offers safe, easy humour that has broad appeal mainly because it will never offend anyone...ever. Letterman takes a lot more risks with his humour and even his interview style. This is why he's actually funny, but also why fewer people watch.

As for wishing Leno would go off the air forever, I agree with you. And, I bet Conan wishes he would, too. How many Leno fans are going to tune in at 10 and then go to bed before Conan even comes on, especially since the local news is wedged between the two programs on most stations. NBC kind of fucked Conan over with this decision.

Amy H. said...

I love Conan. I watch him religiously. I can remember at least once when I peed my pants watching him... and at least two other occasions that I laughed so hard I fell on the floor. He is hilarious! I am hoping that this move doesn't ruin the quirky, bizarreness that is Conan.