Home Celebrity WAR! All Eyes on Jay Leno’s Show As He Goes After NBC...

UPDATE Real war broke out this afternoon between NBC and Jay Leno–and for the third time. Yes, it’s World War III. On the “Tonight” show Leno went after NBC for the third night in a row, calling them “extinct” and comparing them to Jurassic Park. “There’s hope for them yet,” he quipped. This was after NBC used the Hollywood media to attack Leno late in the afternoon on two fronts. Crazy stuff since NBC and Leno famously tangled at the very beginning of his run when the network wanted David Letterman to take over the Tonight show. That resulted in a book and a movie for HBO by Bill Carter of the New York Times.

Then, just a couple of years ago, there was the War Over Conan O’Brien which ended very badly and caused O’Brien to leave the network. Now NBC, instead of dealing quietly with Leno over his 2014 exit and Jimmy Fallon’s succession. The result is that NBC will attack Leno again today and he will go after them again tonight. Is it driving ratings up? Who cares? It’s once again damaging their brand.  For some reason NBC– as with Ann Curry most recently, and many times in the past– can’t handle their Human Resources Department very well. “30 Rock” parodies were not so off the mark.

It’s all quite different than what went at ABC when “Nightline” was pushed out of the way for Jimmy Kimmel. That was pretty clean in the end. Why NBC can’t do anything diplomatically could be the subject of a new Bill Carter book.

But it’s no different than that war in January 2010. In his monologues then, Leno said NBC stood for “Never Believe Your Contract.” http://www.showbiz411.com/2010/01/08/20100108the-x-factor-in-the-conanjay-soap-opera-lorne-michaels

Stay tuned…

Earlier: All eyes will be on Jay Leno’s “Tonight” show tonight. The reason? With one hour to go before Wednesday night’s taping, NBC sent Leno a clear message and used the media to do it. The Drudge Report is blaring “Fallon In, Leno Out” as GQ magazine released a special issue with heir apparent Jimmy Fallon on the cover. The Hollywood Reporter seized on a quote from Fallon producer Lorne Michaels that “Jimmy Fallon” is the closest thing he’s seen to a Johnny Carson. Wow. (I think Fallon is more like Jack Paar or Steve Allen frankly.) The New York Times’ expert on this subject, Bill Carter, followed with a story about a Fallon Tonight show moving to New York. Leno, with a quick trigger temper, will be exploding at these statements. With hints that he may be forced out by February 2014, Leno is sure to blow a gasket. When The “Tonight” show begins taping at 4pm Pacific, 7 Eastern, look for Tweets etc about his monologue. Yikes. Fallon, meantime, who’s a nice guy, is said to be reaching out to Leno to calm him down. Good luck. Conan O’Brien was a nice guy too. Leno is Patton when it comes to the Tonight Show.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
113 replies to this post
  1. studies show that watchers of the above mentioned shows (late night talk) have an average income that is 20% or more below what those that are in bed at that time earn.. interesting…..

  2. Stopped watching NBC after that Leno/Conan thing. With Leno, its all about the unions, hope NBC can push them out. Go Conan, you rule the night! I only watch brian williams on NBC now.

  3. Count another person standing in Jay Leno’s corner. I find Fallon to be a puerile idiot, almost as bad as the red-haired stepchild squatting at TBS, Conan O’Brien. If and when Leno is replaced by Fallon, I have no intention of continuing to watch the Tonight Show (I never watch Fallon on his current show). As for Letterman, yup, he’s now just your stereotypical kiss-@ss Liberal Dirty Old Man. Just observe the way he leers at his female guests.

  4. I think that Leno is leaving the party line and NBC can’t handle someone with an independent thought. NBC except for a few shows is so left leaning that you have to tip the TV on it’s side to watch it upright. I think Leno started leaning too much to the center.

  5. The once interesting late night “talk shows” (Steve Allen, early Johnny Carson, etc.) have been unwatchable for years. They have morphed into mediocre joke show starters, followed by a PR platform for actors, authors and other entertainment critters peddling their latest work. That’s it. There a few interesting guests and virtually no conversations worth staying up that late to listen to. Johnny Carson’s sad latter years were a a forecast of what was to come in the late night talk shows–repetitive, boring and full of Hollywood narcissism.

  6. Carson was the standard and Leno coming in did as best he could to replace someone who was irreplaceable. NBC has stuck with Jay over David and then Conan so to now make an overt move to run Jay off and choose Jimmy over him is just another sign that NBC doesn’t really know what they are doing. They have people in control that are paygrades way above what their talent is and demonstrating that the real time to go is in the offices rather than the online talent. I’ve never been a fan of Jay or the Tonight Show after Carson left but I sure don’t think Jimmy Fallon is any improvement. I actually prefer Jay to Conan or David also but that isn’t saying a lot. My gut feeling is that David Letterman should have replaced Carson and Leno given an alternate show but they let too many promises out and too much disrespecting of Letterman happen for that to have a chance. NBC’s problem lies more in their offices and with the people off camera than on camera both in the News division and the Entertainment division.

  7. Sorry Jay, what goes around comes around!. Leno is a jerk. He came off really bad in the Conan situation complaining about getting pushed out of his job and then taking the first opportunity to push Conan out before he had a chance to get his legs on the Tonight Show. I’m glad to see Jimmy giving him a taste of his own medicine.

    Also, Leno is not funny at all. I mean, at all. I can’t remember a funny bit that he’s ever done. He’s a black hole of funny and very poorly thought of in the entertainment industry. His ratings are a joke because his audience is all old retired people. Meanwhile, people watch Conan and Fallon on DVR and the internet. NBC’s just too stupid to understand new media.

    Sorry Jay, have fun working the main floor at Casino Morongo.

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