Jay Leno kicked off Thursday night’s monologue with his fourth jab in a row at his employer. “Are you all excited about March Madness? People talk about who’s in, who’s out, who’s going to be eliminated? And that’s just here at NBC!” Leno said as the show opened. Leno added, a little disingenuously: I’ve never been in the paper so much!” It’s not exactly true. In January 2010 he was in the paper just as much, when NBC forced him out for Conan O’Brien, then needed Leno to come back and ousted O’Brien to TBS. O’Brien took between $20 and $50 million with him as a consolation prize, but the damage was done.
All day Thursday there were tons of stories popping up in the press about Leno being ousted again from the “Tonight” show even though his ratings are higher than David Letterman’s or Jimmy Kimmel’s. Leno even beats Kimmel in the youth demo 18-49. But NBC is panicking about ratings, the future and young people. Meanwhile there were reports tonight that NBC chief Bob Greenblatt may have taken Leno to dinner after his taping tonight–it could be going on right now at 8:48pm Pacific–to mollify him.
I hope there’s taste tester in attendance.