January 14th, 2010

Late Night Wars

So, it seems like NBC is run by retarded hedgehogs.

Seriously, they went through all this bullshit more than a decade ago when Carson was ready to retire. Fuck, this is a network whose main revenue stream lies on the ability of Dick Wolf to continuously take the police blotter of the New York Post and turn it into cops shows three or four times a week.

What's the next step here? Killing The Tonight Show completely and just creating "Law & Order: Night Court Edition?"

As it is they have have every nighttime comic trashing them night after night.

Here's a good life rule: Don't piss off comics who have audiences in the millions. They can, and will, screw you over publicly for weeks at a time. NBC should have picked up on this when John McCain blew off Letterman last year and Dave fucked him up the ass for two weeks straight.

The thing is, it didn't take a genius to see this coming or avoid it. Why the fuck are NBC executives making the big bucks when it seems pretty clear that anyone with a lick of common sense could be doing a better job.

First off, of course Leno was going to fail at 10 p.m. People like to watch dramas at 10 p.m. It's what they've done their entire lives. Sitcoms from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and then something involving a hospital or police officers from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. That is how television works.

Secondly, don't squander your money on failure. To get out of this mess they are now going to have to pay Conan $35 million and release him from the no compete clause in his contract, which will allow him to get another $50 million from Fox or ABC.

Then, he'll take his entire audience with him to whatever network he goes to. Leno, after dicking around at 10 p.m. all year no longer has a built in audience.

Which means that not only are you paying off Conan to leave, you are doing so in a situation where your only late night viewers are people too lazy or stoned to change the channel when Nightly News ends. Good luck with that.

Meanwhile, Conan ain't going to promote any of your other shows. And when you try to book actors from your other shows onto any other late night program the hosts are going to turn the appearance into another way to make fun of your company.

Then, Leno is getting older and will really want to retire soon and you'll need someone to host The Tonight Show. Who are you going to get? Letterman hates you with the fire of a thousand suns. Conan will never come back. So, your back up plan should Leno get into an accident on one of his motorcycles is either Jimmy Fallon or Carson Daley.

Again, good luck with that.

NBC Poll

Ok.

Suppose NBC manages to piss off both Leno and Conan and they bail on the network. Who is out there that could host The Tonight Show and get away with it?

Seinfeld has apparently already said he wouldn't do it. Leary, Miller, Mahr and Shandling don't have a huge demographic appeal - so who do you grab?

The brave move would be to offer The Tonight Show to Chris Rock, who would be good both in monologues and with celebrities, but I don't see NBC being that forward thinking.

But, who else is out there? To recover if they lose Leno and Conan they need someone big, but also someone that can play just as well in flyover states as on the coasts.

Any thoughts?