Tonight Show: Jay Leno near the end of the road

May 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Features, Late Night

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Jay Leno has been the face of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for 17 years. And that long and twisting road is coming to an end on Friday.

It’s a job he won against a lot of solid competition. The Tonight Show is a coveted position for any host or comedian.  NBC wasn’t too sure at first, but Leno won them over. He’s only missed 4 days over those 17 years, and worked without complaint.

Late-Late night host Conan O’Brien will take over the show on Monday. But Leno isn’t really leaving our TV screens, in fact, he’s sort of moving up in time slots. “The Jay Leno Show” will air at 10PM Eastern soon.

At age 59, he’s finally hit “the big time”.

Johnny Carson (the king of Late Night, whose reign began in 1962) put America to peaceful and humorous rest for 30 years, and endorsed Leno as his replacement. Since May 25, 1992, Jay Leno has sat at this desk. It’ll be strange to see someone else there.

He has been well-liked. Sturdy. Unfailingly likable. A regular guy, that audiences identify with. Not a blockbuster or a highly controversial figure. That’s not his style.

He was just solid. Intelligent. And treated all of his guests with grace and humility, the way talk show guests should be treated.

Happy trails, Jay Leno, and may your new show do well.

What’s The Point?: A New Jon and Kate season emerges from a media firestorm

May 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Prime Time

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jonkateHas Kate been cheating on Jon? Has Jon been cheating on Kate? Has the show itself been a farce in many ways, a TV manufactured ‘product’? These are questions viewers (and TLC) will have to tackle as the next season starts.

A new 40-episode Jon & Kate Plus 8 season will be launching next week, and it starts amid lots of media reports of infidelity, off-camera mischief and other allegations.

Two months ago, more than 4.5 million viewers tuned in to the fourth-season finale. Now, it will probably be more watched than ever, but TLC is feeling the heat of balancing the new reality of its show versus the family friendly tone embraced by the suits at the network.

What will happen this season? Will the couple even hold up past the mid-season point in real life? If the couple separates or divorces, will TLC have a bunch of worthless shows in the can?

We shall see.

NBC show ‘Chuck’ renewed despite low ratings

May 18, 2009 by  
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chuckSometimes the geeks prevail, and in this case, that indeed happened.

The network grabbed up 13 new episodes of the series which made some budget concessions to secure the show a third season, since cuts needed to be made to continue the show, according to NBC.

Fans rallied hard for a pickup, including even a “Save Chuck” campaign that covered buying special items from sandwich shop Subway, and writing in heavily to request the show be renewed.

“Chuck” joins “Southland” (which was definitely on the bubble) and “Parks and Recreation” among the shows that people weren’t too sure would get renewed that NBC gave the nod to. It’s a victory for quality television, without the super-high ratings usually needed for a show to be approved for a new season.

Most in the industry were pretty sure ‘Chuck’ would be renewed, especially when news came down that Dollhouse was going to probably be renewed for a full season.

‘Chuck’ averaged a little over 6.5 million viewers this season, which is #78 out of 200 shows, which isn’t great, but NBC took into account all the fan base support for the show in its decision.

A Bad Sign?: A&E releases new schedule, minus “The Beast”

May 13, 2009 by  
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thebeastA&E’s new schedule of original programming was released today, and apparently it doesn’t include The Beast, the searing Patrick Swayze crime drama, which could be threatened by the failing health of its star. Apparently, A&E isn’t sure what to do with the show, and is seemingly scared to renew it in the event its star isn’t able to finish it.

A rep for the cable network says no final decision has been made about the future of the show. Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2008, and reportedly battled the disease through the entire first season of the show, with several stoppages happening because of illnesses and weakness caused by treatments.

We can see why they might be gunshy, but pulling the show will cause a lot of bad will for A&E. Perhaps renewing the show for one more season, and wrapping it up this season, leaving a slight door open in case Swayze is able to do more down the road?

Solution to Afternoon Doldrums?: Aisha Tyler to host unique talk show

May 8, 2009 by  
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aisha Actress-comedian Aisha Tyler will apparently join a unique new “hybrid” talk show pilot for ABC, and become the main host of the show. It’s got some interesting ideas, but will it prop up the sagging afternoon block for ABC?

“The Aisha Tyler Show” (as it will be called obviously) will fuse together a traditional variety talk show with political commentary with a comedy slant (sounds like a few shows already out), with comedy sketches and other stuff thrown in.

Aimed at a more youthful audience, the show will have a wired slant, where you can talk to Tyler with Twitter, Facebook and other internet methods. The show will be mainly aimed at cable or syndication in the long run.

ABC will probably end up putting the show in its struggling afternoon soap opera block, with General Hospital, One Life to Live and similar shows. Will it find an audience? We’ll wait and see.

Good News for Gourmet TV Fans: Southland picked up by NBC

May 3, 2009 by  
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southlandNBC has renewed the cop drama “Southland,” picking up 13 episodes of the series for the rest of the season. The show was in danger of being axed due to controversial tones in the early episodes.

The Los Angeles-set cop show, which stars Ben McKenzie, was a late addition to NBC’s midseason schedule (usually where shows go to die much of the time). It got off to a good start in “ER”‘s Thursday 10 p.m. time slot (not unexpected).

The ratings have since slipped a little bit, but the network people have been high on “Southland” for its wide possible appeal, potential and producer John Wells’ solid track record as a producer (he created ER, a pretty good show that just outstayed its welcome).

This is good for TV; a bold, daring show not afraid to show the unglamorous side of cop work. TV really needs shaking up right now, and Southland could be just the ticket.