Fun with Late Night

First, the not fun: Saw Haiti, you know what happened.  Donate here.

As far as the late night thing?  Well, the decision to move Leno to 10 was actually fascinating.  I do have to admire NBC’s balls to try to go and rewrite the business model for prime time television.  First of all, they had to find a way to placate Jay Leno after mistakenly annointing Conan 5 years ago when they really didn’t want to.  Leno was winning the ratings war for years, so really there was no reason to change.  But the idea of cheaper, weeknight entertainment was not nonsensical in a world where primetime series cost so much money.  That said, Jay Leno was probably the wrong choice to do something like this, and indeed late night comedy at 10:00 seemed like a miscalculation from the start.  Who wants to laugh that much?  Besides, being in LA, he was taking A-guests from Conan O’Brien.

So Conan was set up to fail.  At the same time, his Tonight Show was not very funny.  Conan himself was borderline brilliant at times in his good but uneven late night program, but I am not sure he was able to figure out how to make his work less edgy while still being funny.  Letterman, formerly in second place, has found a way to subsist with a show not as good as the iconic Late Night with David Letterman but certainly funny and profitable.  Conan never cracked that nut, and his show suffered.  Frankly it has taken this disaster for his show to become brilliant.

Either way, Letterman and Ferguson are all I need to watch.


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