Jay Leno used his talk-show pulpit to skewer NBC on the day that various media reports emerged that his days in the 10 p.m. time slot may be done. Going straight for the throat, Leno taunted his network by saying “I hear Fox is beautiful this time of year” and joking that the trust between him and the Peacock network is gone.
The verbal assault comes after rumors flew claiming Leno would be returning to 11:30 in late February. There was no word where that would leave Conan O’Brien, who took over Leno’s ‘Tonight Show’ chair last year.
During his monologue, Leno put in several shots at NBC. When addressing the cancellation rumor, he quipped that he has nothing to worry about because “NBC only cancels you when you’re in first place, so we’re fine.”
Since taking the 10 p.m. slot, Leno’s ratings have been in steady decline and are a far drop from his ‘Tonight’ pull. Making matters even worse for NBC, local affiliates across the country complained because his 10 p.m. lead-in into their 11 p.m. newscasts was hurting their ratings.
Perhaps the harshest shot that Leno took at NBC was veiled in a news story that he turned to his advantage.
“The Justice Department announced they’ll conduct an anti-trust review of Comcast’s proposal deal … you know the merge with NBC. Anti-trust, which is the relationship I have with NBC,” he said.
Closing out the monologue, Leno got in one last pot shot, asking band leader Kevin Eubanks: ” Hey Kev, what does NBC stand for? Never Believe your Contract!”
PopEater’s Rob Shuter reported on December 17 that NBC was courting Jerry Seinfeld to replace O’Brien in the hopes of boosting that slot’s sagging ratings. Unfortunately, NBC was unable to ink the deal according to Shuter, which then prompted the possible Leno switch.
In a statement obtained by EW.com, NBC is shooting down the shift rumors, saying (without denying any upcoming changes): “Jay Leno is one of the most compelling entertainers in the world today. As we have said all along, Jay’s show has performed exactly as we anticipated on the network. It has, however, presented some issues for our affiliates. Both Jay and the show are committed to working closely with them to find ways to improve performance.”
Was Jim Norton funny on Leno’s network show?
Weeks ago, when Jay Leno announced that he had hired Jim Norton, the master of contemporary cringe comedy, to be a special correspondent on his new, presumably safe-for-the-masses variety show, I was a bit shocked. The reasons? First, I had no idea Leno had such advanced and impeccable taste in comedians. Second, I thought, what in the hell is Norton, a guy who has made a career, in part, by telling strangers onstage about his gay oral sex misadventures when he was a child, having prostitutes defecate upon him and bestiality stories (not involving him) going to say on a show meant for Leno followers?
Needless to say, I watched Leno’s show last night with great interest, knowing Norton was making his first appearance. In the end, I think Norton did a stellar job of maintaining a pretty sharp edge while still fitting into the late-night network mold. He took an amazingly tired comedy topic — airline travel — and injected it with pure Norton.
Ct Patriot… Ummm i think most late night TV is Boring and Predictable… But im a big fan of Jim Norton… One of the funniest comedians working today… Leno is Funny looking…
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