So here's a bunch of "one more" things.
For all of Jay's nice guy image, remember this is the same guy who scabbed during the Writers' Strike and never gave breaks to new comics. Johnny always did. That's how comedians like, uh... Jay Leno were discovered.
Thanks to one of my commenters for the inside story on Conan's rally. Apparently Conan was out there shaking hands and buying pizzas. Glad to hear it. He's a class guy and that's what I would have expected. After all, he was a fellow SIMPSONS writer. But how stupid to not show that during the piece?
NBC was stupid on so many levels for asking Jay to step down in five years. The end result aside, why risk pissing off your TONIGHT SHOW host who was number one? Jay happened to be gracious (which was yet another blunder) but what if he wasn't? You really want a guy on the air unhappy for FIVE long years? Believe me, a pissed talk show host can make enough noise that eventually you yank him off the air. Then you've lost your number one guy long before you had to. And Jay goes across the street and beats the shit out of whoever you replace him with.
I had Joe Flint from the LA TIMES on my KABC radio show last night and he brought out a great point. All of Jeff Zucker's decisions are geared towards the "quick fix". Why develop new shows when you can just "Supersize" the ones you have? Why make a hard choice on who to keep -- Leno or Conan -- when you can just throw them both on the air? Let the chips and ratings fall where they may.
On Charlie Rose Mr. Zucker said it was up to the leader to make bold decisions and if they don't work to have the courage to reverse them. Uh, the decision was made because your affiliates were about to revolt and the merger with Comcast still wasn't complete. Not because of your strong leadership ability. That's like when ballplayers admit to steroid use and say they just needed to "come clean". Bullshit! They didn't come clean. They were caught. Big difference.
And if the leader makes a monumental mistake shouldn't he take the fall? Boston Red Sox manager Grady Little was fired for leaving a hall-of-fame pitcher in a game one batter too long.
The question I keep asking is: did the 10:00 show fail because it's just a bad idea or might it have worked (at least a little better) if someone else hosted it? What if THE DAILY SHOW and COLBERT REPORT were in that slot? I'm sure the ratings wouldn't be great but they'd be better than Leno's and both shows are hip. NBC would draw a much younger audience. Maybe shows like THE OFFICE and 30 ROCK would finally get the decent numbers they deserve.
Another big question: Just where does Conan go? FOX is not a slam-dunk. Their affiliates do not want to give up an hour. It would take a lot of arm twisting. Might be done but it won't be easy. ABC has said they're happy with NIGHTLINE and Kimmell, and CBS obviously has no need. That leaves cable. HBO is not going to do a nightly show. Weekly, sure but not every night. Basic cable: he could follow Stewart and Colbert on COMEDY CENTRAL but that puts him at midnight again. If he wanted to go on at midnight he could have just stayed at NBC with ten times the audience. And networks like USA and BRAVO are owned by -- guess who -- NBC. So that's not to going to happen. Is there a syndicated deal out there? I'm sure Conan will back but maybe in a different format.
And finally, I take no relish in all of this. I spent most of my career working for NBC (between CHEERS, WINGS, and FRASIER). NBC stood for class (and the A-TEAM was entertaining). I was proud as a you-know-what to be associated with them. It breaks my heart to see what has become of such a once-stellar broadcasting network.
Okay. I'll stop. Wait... one more thing. I'm on 790 KABC again tonight from 6:30-10 Pacific. If you can't access it through their website you can go to itunes radio -- news, talk, scroll down and you'll find KABC. Or you can just go on about your life.
Now I'll stop.