Friday, January 15, 2010

The Late Night Wars

In case you have been living under a rock the past week, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien are in a battle royal over the coveted 11:35 PM time slot on NBC TV. I don't usually get political on this blog but in my opinion NBC is screwing Conan royally. I am a bit biased as I have friends who work at The Tonight Show who will lose their jobs because of this, but I really don't understand why NBC is so in love with Jay Leno. Conan has not been given a decent chance at the helm of the greatest late night show in history and he's being ousted for the return of someone who failed miserably in a brand new show. There are those who say that Conan's ratings were bad as well but even NBC has stated that that may be from the weak lead in due to people turning their channels to get away from Leno at 10:00. There are also those people that are voicing their opinion saying that these two guys are going to both make out in the end as Conan stands to make a huge profit if his contract gets pulled. But let's think about everyone who works for Conan. They just recently packed up their lives and their families' lives and moved from New York to California. Now, a mere months later, they are left with no job. Not to mention that they will not be making a huge sum of money the way Conan will if it all falls apart. I think NBC is making a big mistake. All of this makes me miss the days when it was a class act. I am of course talking about the reign of Johnny Carson. He was the true King of Late Night and no one can take his place. During the Carson years, the Tonight Show was more than just an advertisement for the latest movie or tv show. It was an honest to goodness form of entertainment. People were invited on the show because Johnny wanted them on. Not because they had a new movie or a new sit-com or even a new record. It was just people that were on because Johnny felt that they were interesting and people wanted to see them. It was a lot cooler and as far as I'm concerned, it will never be the same. In 1974, Casablanca Records issued a collection of some of the best moments of the Tonight Show on a two record set entitled, "Here's Johnny: Magic Moments From The Tonight Show". It features a roster of guest stars that would rival any late night show: Lenny Bruce, Groucho Marx, Ike & Tina Turner, Bette Midler, Lucille Ball, Pearl Baily, The Smothers Brothers, George Carlin, Billie Holiday, Glen Campbell, George Burns, Buddy Hackett, Jack Benny, Dean Martin, Desi Arnez and more. Here is that two record set for you to enjoy!

Here's Johnny! Magic Moments From The Tonight Show
Here's Johnny! Magic Moments From The Tonight Show Part 2


Phillyradiogeek said...

The sad thing is, if the local affiliates didn't complain so much about Leno, everyone would keep their jobs. I'm not saying the affiliates were wrong to do so, in fact they had a great point, but I certainly don't think they saw this mess coming. It's an embarrassment for the network, for the industry, and solidfies all network executives reputations as being out of touch and incompetent. It's gotten so bad, there really is no good way to resolve this anymore. What a shame!

Anonymous said...

You are right. Carson was the king of late-night and it just hasn't been very good since.

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