Archive for the ‘TV News’ Category

Yes, it happened. David Letterman, Oprah Winfrey and Jay Leno all ended up in a Super Bowl ad tonight. The New York Times’ Media Decoder blog has the story, including this:

As Mr. Burnett described it, Mr. Letterman had the idea to invite Mr. Leno to participate, playing off a similar ad he put together with Ms, Winfrey the last time CBS had the Super Bowl in 2007. “Dave wrote the bit himself,” Mr. Burnett said. “He just thought: it’s the Super Bowl, you’re supposed to entertain people.”

Steps were takes to contact Ms. Winfrey, who agreed immediately, Mr. Burnett said, and then Mr. Leno. Mr. Burnett said he spoke with Mr. Leno’s executive producer, Debbie Vickers. “She asked if this was for real and then she laughed for about 10 minutes,” Mr. Burnett said.

Mr. Leno quickly agreed, but the idea had to be passed by the top NBC executives, including the chief executive, Jeff Zucker. Permission was granted.


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For those that haven’t been living under a rock, you know that NBC is moving Jay Leno back to 11:35pm, and they want to move Conan O’Brien back to 12:05am. Well, Conan doesn’t like that, and lashed out today at NBC. This is such an extrodinary letter, I had to post it:

People of Earth:

In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.



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For those out there who love Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, and are very excited/interested in the NBC Tonight Show hand off that’s going to begin this Friday night, then you MUST read this New York Times Magazine article.

It’s over 7,000 words, but it is WELL worth it.

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I love the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I love Kevin Eubanks and the Tonight Show Band. Come the first week in September, they move to 10pm ET/9pm ct as Conan O’Brien (with Max and the Max Weinberg 7) take over the Tonight Show. But if you live in Boston, you may not be seeing Jay:

“”WHDH’s move is a flagrant violation of the terms of their contract with NBC,” said John Eck, president of NBC Television Network. “If they persist, we will strip WHDH of its NBC affiliation. We have a number of other strong options in the Boston market, including using our existing broadcast license to launch an NBC-owned and operated station.”

The decision to program local news instead of Leno, the longtime host of “The Tonight Show” who grew up in Andover, follows the runaway success of the 10 p.m. newscast on rival WFXT-TV Channel 25, Boston’s Fox outlet. WFXT’s newscast averaged 210,600 total viewers in the March ratings sweeps, while the 10 p.m. newscast on WHDH sister station WLVI-TV Channel 56 drew 43,800 total viewers. On some nights, WFXT’s newscast beats network shows in the city, with help from lead-ins such as “American Idol” and “House.””

Ugh. Please. Jay Leno is a big star. They are working their butts off (and will be even more to get this show 100% ready for the 10pm timeslot to ensure that viewer loss is at a mininmum and that they will be a good lead-in to local news. The article goes on to say:

“Ed Ansin, owner of WHDH and WLVI, believes a local newscast at 10 p.m., which he plans to simulcast on both stations, will draw better ratings than Leno.

“We feel we have a real opportunity with running the news at 10 p.m. We don’t think the Leno show is going to be effective in prime time,” Ansin said yesterday. “It will be detrimental to our 11 o’clock [newscast]. It will be very adverse to our finances.””

NBC: fine them, admonish them, threaten them, do whatever it takes. The whole country should be able to see Jay and Kevin, and that includes Boston.

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I have made no secret over the first year of this blog that my favorite news man is the Anchor and Managing Editor of the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams. One of the big reasons why I’m a fan is because he is a blogger too — on The Daily Nightly.

He also has an awesome sense of humor — heck, he did host SNL — as evidenced by this week’s interview with Bonnie Hunt:

Segment 1
Segment 2
Segment 3

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