In what should come as no big surprise, late night TV is once again in vitriolic upheaval. I say "once again" because we do this every so many years. There was Joan Rivers, Arsenio Hall, and all sorts of late night craziness in the nineties, where celebrities who were booked on one show would not get booked on the others. Often comedians who began their careers as unknowns together, like Jay Leno and David Letterman, have had rifts that leave them uncommunicative to this day.
While I normally tout the position of "can't we all just get along," I am loathe to do it where Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien are concerned, mostly because this might have been the stupidest move I can remember a network ever making, and that has little to do with either of them.
I think when NBC ousted Jay because they wanted to appeal to a younger demographic, there was so much ageism backlash that they had to do something not to have serious egg on their face. And in as much as they wanted a younger audience, they got one. So congratulations NBC. You got the young people. You just lost the rest of us. I stopped even checking out who the guests are on The Tonight Show and just tune in to Dave from start to finish. And it turns out I'm not the only one because Dave's viewers exceed Conan's by around two million a night. Even Nightline surpasses Conan in viewership, and that's a news show!
The unjust part to me is that everyone has blamed Jay Leno, when in fact this wasn't his brilliant idea in the first place. Local news affiliates have been screaming because they've lost viewers since Jay began his prime time stint. And let me just say this about that...
Everyone I know has their favorite local news network and full possession of the remote control. Maybe those local networks should look at making their broadcasts appealing enough so that Americans will expound the energy it takes to...wait for it...push a button and switch channels. I do it. You can too.
So back to the latest in the late night feuds. The rumor is that they want to move Jay back to his old time slot for a half hour and then put Conan on, by which time no one will be left awake to watch Jimmy Fallon. This seems like a great way to get Conan to jump ship voluntarily, and the rumor as of this morning is that he might go to Fox. I think that would be just great because I don't like Fox and I don't like Conan, so it should be a good fit. He can hang out with Sarah Palin who just inked her deal with Fox.
I imagine that Dave is not too happy about this prospect since his new loyal viewers like yours truly will undoubtedly go back to flipping back and forth, depending on the guests.
Truthfully, I feel for all of them because it must be tough to eke out a multimillion dollar living. And that, my friends is the perfect segue to the next television hullabaloo - American Idol and Simon Cowell's departure.
First we lost Paula...who was evidently clean and sober enough to know she should be getting more money. I say, "Good for her." Then it was all about who would replace her. Now I love Ellen, but aren't there tons of has been pop stars whose careers could have been happily rejuvenated like Paula's was? I think that would've been a much wiser course of action. Unfortunately I'm not on Fox's speed dial.
I think it's time for American Idol to go out with a bang. We already have our Kelly Clarkson, our Carrie Underwood, and our Adam Lambert. I'm happy with that. Simon should just do his X Factor show, make Fox gazillions more dollars and open the floodgates for our own Susan Boyle...who I feel compelled to mention at every possible opportunity.
And while we're discussing Simon, how is it that one man can hold a talent show's destiny in his hands when he's not the one up there singing? I think there are the obvious answers - honesty and straightforwardness is refreshing, he's usually right, and his persona is larger than life. I think there's another element though, and it's something not everyone will agree with - I think Simon is likeable. That's right, I said it. I think that discerning talent and star quality is Simon's job. And though I'm basing this on nothing but a gut instinct, I think that off-camera he is probably a nice guy.
Now I hate to pick on poor millionaire Conan O'Brien again, but that's what's lacking for me with Conan. I'm not so certain he's nice. Again, just a feeling. Speaking of which...it's time to go watch the new season of American Idol...then Jay Leno...then I'll strain to pick up my remote and switch to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I don't actually watch local news if I can help it.
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