We have important and breaking* news, if you consider who hosts “The Tonight Show” or “Late Night” to be something even remotely important, and unless you are reading this from a retirement community or an NBCUniversal office, you probably don’t care all that much.
Awesome, just an awesome report from the Daily News:
There’s word that NBC brass are ruminating over Jay Leno’s future — which would involve finally giving their current late-late guy comic, Jimmy Fallon, the coveted job as the host of “The Tonight Show.”
The latest rumblings about Leno come from various talent agents who admit they have quietly been contacted by NBC officials hoping to find a new late-late host who will eventually take over Fallon’s 12:35 a.m. time slot.
First: Jimmy Fallon’s show premiered in March 2009. What is this “finally” business? Secondly, Leno’s contract is up in 2014. Does anyone actually care who hosts “The Tonight Show” anymore? Of course not. It’s “The Tonight Show.” But yes, sure, let’s all get riled up about “Tonight Show” rumors, because we had so much fun the last time we (BRIEFLY) cared about “The Tonight Show.”
There are no second acts in American life, unless you are Jeff Zucker, in which case your catastrophic firebombing of a major television network can be followed up with a job running a beleaguered news operation.
Jeff Zucker, the man who brought you “The Jay Leno Show,” the man who took NBC from the No. 1 network on television to the No. 4 broadcast network (there are only four), the man who infamously bungled handing over “The Tonight Show” to Conan O’Brien (and then bungled it again, and then bungled it yet again for good measure), the man who pinned his success on to “To Catch A Predator” and “The Apprentice” and “Joey,” is going to take over CNN. For a news network in search of an identity and a direction, this…is not very good news.
Here’s something to be thankful for today: Chevy Chase is leaving “Community,” according to news that seeped out the day before Thanksgiving, when people likely wouldn’t be paying much attention. The reason we should be thankful for this is that we’re finally (hopefully?) going to be spared more stories about how much he hates working on the show and how much other people hate him and yes, it’s a small thing, it’s really the littlest of little things, but since it’s Thanksgiving we will just choose to be thankful for this minute thing.
Also, viewers won’t even notice much of anything for a good long while, because he has already filmed most of the episodes in the show’s delayed, abbreviated fourth season. And since the “Community” premiere has already been postponed, and since the show has terrible ratings, and since NBC only ordered a 13-episode season, and since NBC has made it clear they are moving away from the network’s low-rated (but great) comedies of the last several years, it is generally accepted that the series probably won’t make it beyond the fourth season. So, this basically means that Chevy Chase is leaving the show a few episodes before the show presumably comes to an end.
So that’s your holiday “Community” update. Happy Thanksgiving!
I realize that NBC is still, in spite of its fledgling successes this season, a television network with a lot of problems. It is also a television network that infamously mistreats some of its best shows (see: delaying “Community” time and time again, postponing the premiere of “Parks and Recreation”). But! Since 2006, NBC has aired the best comedies on network television. Its status as a force for good in the world of televised comedies is something that is easy to overlook when it keeps yanking around “Community” and airing episodes of “The New Normal.”
So it’s nice to have a reminder that NBC occasionally looks out for you, the discerning viewer. Case in point: NBC was going to air a midseason comedy starring Dane Cook, and now NBC isn’t going to do that anymore. Four of the show’s six episodes were already filmed, and in a weird twist for this sort of thing, the network pulled the plug and reportedly won’t bother airing those episodes. Generally, a network will at least burn off the episodes of shows it has no interest in, as we saw with the likable-but-doomed “Bent” last year.
(We offer our blog apologies to the people who counted on this show for work, of course.)
Scott Collins of the L.A. Times has more on the struggles faced by “The Tonight Show” and, of course, NBC. You’ll recall that “The Tonight Show” recently laid off at least 20 staff members, with Jay Leno nobly taking a relatively minor pay cut to save some jobs.
Collins’s story is about “The Tonight Show’s” ratings slide, the ever-increasing competition in late night and NBC’s various NBC-ish missteps. There’s also this nugget about Leno’s pay cut, and how he wanted to do even more:
Leno even offered to work for free to save more jobs, according to people familiar with the matter, who said the offer was rejected because executives believed it would set a bad precedent. These people said “Tonight” was now barely breaking even.
Bull. Shit. I do not know all of the facts, nor do I know the thought process at work here, nor do I know any particular details about NBC’s current financial situation. But I feel 100 percent confident in saying that there is zero chance (none, no chance) that a television network had the option of a star working for free, saving them tens of millions of dollars a year, and they turned it down. Continue reading
Big news in the world of Michael J. Fox and Michael J. Fox’s career as a television actor: He’s returning to TV! News broke last week that Fox was working with Will Gluck (director of “Easy A” and “Friends With Benefits”) and Sam Laybourne (a writer for “Arrested Development” and “Cougar Town”) on a new sitcom that would star Fox and be inspired by his own life. This sparked a feeding frenzy, wherein various networks went after the rights to the project. Continue reading
Do you watch “The Tonight Show”? Of course you don’t. It’s 2012. Nobody watches “The Tonight Show,” except for people who fall asleep with their TVs on after “The Voice” and/or people in hospital waiting rooms. “The Tonight Show” exists because NBC still needs to put something on at night, and it thrives (insofar as it thrives) based solely on the exceedingly low standards for late night network television. Continue reading
The Firing of Dan Harmon continues to be the great drama of our time. (And by “great drama,” I mean “regrettable but ultimately, sadly understandable severing of a business relationship involving a show that very few people watch.” Also, most people are probably unaware that this drama is even taking place, because most people do not know much about this “Community” or this “Dan Harmon,” but we can ignore that because you are reading something on the Internet and therefore an interest in all things “Community” is assumed.
Anyway! Since the firing was such a public and maligned mess, and since the show’s cast contains many talented individuals who have other projects and therefore other opportunities to answer questions from the media and the public, Sony realized that there was a danger of these cast members speaking honestly about their feelings w/r/t the Harmon Saga. So rather than let someone comment on the fact that, say, Harmon was fired without so much as a phone call, Sony has decided to tell these cast members how to respond.
The Hollywood Reporter snagged a memo containing the talking points Sony sent to the cast and crew. I would assume this sort of thing happens fairly often — I can only imagine the “Luck” talking points memo was about 40,000 words long, about half of that specifically dealing with Nick Nolte-related answers — but it’s still interesting to see it come out in public. I recommend reading the whole thing (it’s not long), if only so you can try to see how Sony wants every cast member to repeat the phrase “‘Community’ comes back this fall” from now until “Community” comes back this fall. (Hey, look at that. It sorta worked!)