A whole hour of Jay Leno telling reheated 12-year-old Bill Clinton jokes at a time that even allows the elderly to be somewhat nonplussed by it? Brilliant! But what’s the show going to be like?
Well, according to Jay Leno himself, it’ll be just like his old show but with more ‘stunts’. And stunt number one? Seeing how quickly he can send Conan O’Brien into the depths of gibbering impotent psychosis. We imagine.
Depending on who you ask, NBC’s decision to give Jay Leno a new show at 10pm every weekday is either genius or utter madness. The naysayers are claiming that NBC broadcasting three near-solid hours of talkshow each night is too much, that it shows the network is turning its back on quality primetime television and that if Jay Leno wasn’t even funny at midnight when most Americans are drifting of into a pharmaceutically-assisted sleep, then he’ll be even less funny at 10, when most Americans are getting drunk and beating their wives.
But these people are wrong. The new Jay Leno show is going to be a success. A horrible, horrible success. Even if it fails it’ll still be a success. Compared to a big drama series like, say, Law And Order, an hour of Jay Leno babbling about cars and holding up pictures of unfunny news stories will be so cheap that it’ll still be more profitable even if nobody watches it.
What’s more, with its winning talkshow line-up of Leno, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon, NBC will be able to offer its viewers three different takes on the day’s news – the gentle mainstream one from Jay, the smarter, more sophisticated one from Conan and one jittery, pretend-nervous one that isn’t remotely funny and gets delivered by a person that most people would like to punch in the mouth.
But, aside from being cheap – and the source of Conan O’Brien’s lingering resentment for many years to come – what’s the new Jay Leno show even going to be like? Luckily Jay Leno himself has been on hand to tell TV Week:
“?The Tonight Show? belongs to Conan O?Brien now. So the desk, the format ? it will be a little bit different. It's really based on what do people like and not like. I've been keeping notes for 17 years. I'm not going to suddenly start doing modern interpretive dance. I like to stand up and tell jokes.?
You hear that? Jay Leno’s new show will be completely different to The Tonight Show – yes, there’ll be a monologue and some celebrity guests and stunts and topical jokes and whatnot, but it’ll be called The Tonite Show instead of The Tonight Show which, as any fool can see, is completely different.
But still, are we the only ones who see a flaw in this plan? Jay Leno says the show is going to be ‘based on what do people like and not like’ – but, since it’s a show that’s got Jay Leno in it, our guess is that it’s going to veer more heavily to the ‘not like’ side.