Did Jay Leno Just Take Your Job?
A Heads-Up For Production People
By Bruce A Johnson | December 09, 2008
You may have heard the news that Jay Leno will not be leaving NBC once his contract runs out in 2009. Instead, he will essentially lift up "The Tonight Show" and move it from the 11:30P Eastern and Pacific/10:30PM Central time slot and drop anchor at 10PM E/P - 9P Central. That's right, a five-night-a-week entertainment talk show strip in prime time on a major network. This is essentially unprecedented, and carries with it major bad news for lots of people in the production community. Think about it - if Leno has 10PM five nights a week, what shows won't be there? Shall we make a list?
Well, this year on NBC Monday through Friday at 10PM we have:
My Own Worst Enemy, Law and Order: SVU, Law And Order (the original version), ER, and Dateline NBC.
Four out of those five hours are scripted drama. These shows employ a LOT of people - DP's, AC's, writers, gaffers, grips, makeup, craft services, drivers, the whole thing. I bet some of those folks read this site, and a lot more of our readers wish they were a part of that community. There is a reason Jay Leno is being given the entire 10PM hour: Compared to scripted drama or comedy, producing a live talk show costs NOTHING. If this trend sticks (and I would hedge my bets on that for a while) this could really tear the production communities in Hollywood, New York City and all across the US apart.
Now, the caveat: I do have a little sympathy for NBC. They are mired in fourth place in the ratings, and after the huge run of success they had with "Must-See TV" in the 1990's that must sting doubly bad. But now the confession - I do not watch ANY of those shows. I am so burned out on the 21st-century versions of crime, lawyers, doctors and "reality" that there is really little on the broadcast TV networks I do appreciate (major exceptions: The Simpsons and Lost.) But instead of trying harder - of developing the next Seinfeld or St. Elsewhere (which really wasn't a doctor show, at it's heart) or Friends or you-name-your-favorite, they throw in the towel. That's just sad.
The network that brought us Hill Street Blues, The West Wing, Bonanza and Star Trek (!) is giving up, trying to squeeze a dollar until George Washington screams. I sort of like Jay Leno, but I can't wish him luck in this venture - it signals a sad decline in what television has been, and could be again, if someone at NBC would just have some guts. And I feel terrible for all the talented crew folks that will see a much less lucrative 2009. Imagine how bad it could get if CBS and ABC go the same way.
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editblog - Sat, May 25 2013 - 3:34 pm
@pixelkisser What about an NLE that doesn't crash a couple of times a day? That seems like it'd be a better option
editblog - Sat, May 25 2013 - 1:29 pm
@swimtwobirds @suckitadobe like those read Rent-A-Center places in the bad part of town. that would be nice if they'd do it but they won't