Leno (who I personally think is the least funniest of the late night hosts) has the number one late night talk show on the air. Things are going so well, the folks at NBC say, “let’s fix it” – because we all know, no one can break anything that’s working, faster than a bad boss. They say, “Let’s skew for a younger audience and let’s save a gang of cash while we’re at it. We’ll cancel promising shows like Southland, move venerable favorites like the Law & Order franchise to the 9:00pm timeslot and ‘change the face of prime time.’” Ok, so maybe those weren’t their exact words.
If by ‘change the face of prime time’ they meant put dozens of people out of work to ensure the continued employment of wealthy comedians and NBC execs, fail miserably at their new venture, and have to eat crow only months later, then NBC and it’s current team of decision makers are the most successful group of individuals ever to “grace” network television.
In all the shuffle, O’Brien’s lost his big dream of hosting The Tonight Show, Leno, although presumably returning to his 11:35pm slot, completely flopped and might want to start thinking about hanging it up, and Fallon, well Fallon has just become a footnote in all the brouhaha. When it’s all said and done, it is hard to feel sorry for these guys with their million dollar contracts and buy-out deals. Who I do wonder about is O’Brien’s staff and crew who picked up and moved to the other side of the country for this gig. What will they do now? I doubt if their contracts include million dollar clauses. And what about the slew of 10:00pm shows, stars, crew and crafts people who were all left without gigs months ago?
Who I’m not wondering about are the head honchos at NBC. If history is any indicator, even after a gi-normous mistake like this, their jobs will still be intact, as will their salaries and bonuses. It seems that even in late-night, the more things change, the more they stay the same.