Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Poor Jay: The Debut of The Jay Leno Show

Poor Jay Leno.  Jeff Zucker forced him out at 11:30, even though he was on top of the ratings. Now, they've given him this consolation prize that's an embarassment for an entertainer as successful as Leno. 

On the premiere program, Leno was forced to interview Kanye West on the heels of the Taylor Swift/Beyonce debacle on the VMA program.  He played it straight, not Leno's strong point, and evoked tears.  I couldn't figure out if Jay or Barbara Walters was conducting the interview.  Then, West went on to perform with Jay-Z and Rihanna, a weird segue. 

I was never a steady viewer of Leno's on The Tonight Show.  I thought his humor had sunken from Johnny Carson's high-minded variety to that of Howard Stern.  But he's clearly a good guy who doesn't eviscerate his comedic subjects.  He is consistently funny and that's not easy to pull off for decades at a time.

Despite great ratings (17.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen), this new iteration is horrible.  It's more of the same with the wacky headlines, a monologue and guests.  Jerry Seinfeld was somewhat funny, but the bit was lacking, especially when they brought in Oprah Winfrey via satellite to make it look like Seinfeld and Oprah were stealing the show from Leno.

Jay should be so lucky.  This show will not last, unless the other networks offer absolutely nothing at 10 p.m.   As someone commented on Facebook before the Leno show was even over last night, "I hope they can use the sets for something else."

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