The Tonight Show Debacle - Morning NewsBrett Singer
The Tonight Show debacle is fascinating to me. Before you say “this isn’t important news”, consider how much money is at stake. According to published reports, NBC is planning to cancel “The Jay Leno Show”, which has been airing at 10pm and is getting low ratings. While NBC says that they are fine with the numbers Jay has been bringing in, their affiliates are not. With Leno as a 10pm lead-in, local stations’ news broadcasts aren’t bringing in the same number of viewers, which leads to lower ad rates, which leads to less money. (Which leads to people losing their jobs. That last part was my own speculation, but it’s not exactly a stretch.) The plan as of today is to keep Jay on at 10pm until February 11th, when the Olympics start. (By the way, NBC is going to lose money on the Olympics for the first time ever.) After the Olympics end, Jay goes to 11:35pm, Conan O’Brien goes to 12:05am, and Jimmy Fallon goes to 1:05am. Carson Daly might get canceled because NBC doesn’t own the 2:00am timeslot; luckily nobody knew Daly still had a show, so he should be fine. On “Saturday Night Live”, Seth Meyers joked that “It’s a little weird to start The Tonight Show at a time when it’s no longer tonight,” which is a good point. Watch:
The guy who really intrigues me is Jeff Zucker. Zucker is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal. Zucker started out producer of The Today Show; by most accounts he is responsible for making that show the hit that it continues to be. He has gradually moved up the ranks of the Peacock Network. And let’s be honest — things haven’t been going so well over there. The L.A. Times has a story today saying that Zucker may be “remembered as the guy who plucked the peacock.” I’ve been saying for years that Zucker has somehow managed not to take the blame for any of NBC’s programming failures. I have no idea if he’s a good or bad executive; he’s definitely good at coming out smelling like a rose. Remember when then-Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder called Ronald Reagan the Teflon President? Zucker is the Teflon Media Executive. Credit should also be given to Howard Stern, who has been saying since the move was announced that it wasn’t going to work. Frankly, it’s not clear how anyone thought moving Leno to 10pm was a good idea. Maybe someone will make a sequel to The Late Shift, an amusing account of the Letterman-Leno late night wars.
OK, what else is happening?
Derek Jeter is going to marry Minka Kelly. That means he’s off the market. Sorry ladies. (MLB.com)
NFL Wild Card Weekend wasn’t that wild, nor was there a card involved. Talk amongst yourselves. (NewsTimes) Actually, the games were mostly pretty good, especially the Packers-Cardinals. Although if you’re a Packers fan, you can’t be happy this morning.
And now, your Weekend Movie Box Office.
“Avatar” held steady at number one with $48,500,000 ($429,040,000 cume – wow). That’s a -29.2% drop, but still a big number for a film in its fourth week of release. “Sherlock Holmes” came in second place with $16,610,000 ($165,178,000 cume). “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” squeaked into third just behind “Holmes” with $16,300,000 (a disturbingly large $178,184,000 cume). I “The Squeakquel” this weekend with the kids. It’s awful but they loved it. “Daybreakers”, which I haven’t seen but looks sort of cool, opened in fourth place with a pretty weak $15,000,000, but if the budget is actually $20 million (as reported by Box Office Mojo) that might not be so bad. Coming in fifth was “It’s Complicated” with $11,007,000 ($76,370,000 cume against an $85 million budget, not so good). And “The Blind Side” is still in the top ten with $7,750,000, bringing its total so far to $219,197,000 against a reported $29 million budget. Wow. I can picture movie executives on the phone screaming, “Find me another true story about a homeless kid who gets adopted by a white family and goes on to be the first pick in the NFL draft! NOW!”