I thought I'd chip in a little on the latest Late Night Broo-ha-ha, since everything else being released seems to be coming from sources as reputable as myself. Friends ask me, "You work at an NBC station. What are you hearing?" And I say, "Nothing." That's because most affiliates are the last to know, and we're lucky we get notification of anything. However, I can give a few hard facts to chew on. Make your own predictions based on these.
- Most NBC affiliates are perfectly happy with the status quo. Albeit they realize Leno and his core audience is aging, and he has exactly one funny routine... Headlines. Still, he delivers what are called "old media" viewers... us geezers who still watch the 11:00 news and stick around for the monologue.
- As I write this on the first Monday morning since the rumors began, there is a line of tourists forming at the Burbank studios to see what they believe will be "one of the last Leno Shows." They will cheer vociferously as soon as the band starts. The opening applause will ring on past the usual time. Every joke in the monologue will be a clapper. Every guest announced will be cheered like a surprise visit by Robin Williams. In other words, the theme park that is a Tonight Show taping will take on even more enthusiasm and urgency than ever before... and on the air, that translates into a broadcasting "event." Just what the Peacock wants.
- Early ratings of this past weekend's "Saturday Night Live" show that Justin Timberlake's fifth appearance as host was a stunner. Best numbers in months. He can do it all: sing, dance, tell jokes, sketch comedy, acting, and host. Lorne Micheals loves him. Which leads to...
- Didja notice Justin Timberlake is on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" all this week? Hmmmm.
- Right now, NBC is filling the 2AM time slot with replays of Kathie Lee and Hoda's hour on "Today." An hour of Howard Stern just standing in front of a brick wall and talking would actually attract advertisers to that slot.
- The one name from any network that doesn't come up in all this conversation is Craig Ferguson. Ouch.