Monday, March 1, 2010

Jay's back! Who's pumped?!

Tonight is the premiere/re-start of Jay Leno's Tonight Show! I'll wait a few moments while you contain your happiness.


So, will you be watching?
Now I know most anyone who reads this probably doesn't consider themselves a fan of Jay Leno, especially after the whole mess that occurred about a month ago. You know, when NBC decided to cancel Jay's 10 PM show, give up on their cost-cutting experiment and ultimately give Conan O'Brien an ultimatum that led to his departure. I don't want to re-examine those issues because they've been done to death, so let's move forward.

It has been over a month since Conan said goodbye to his short-lived tenure on The Tonight Show. And although people were all up in arms about the whole situation then, will anyone truly care now? Despite all the behind-the-scenes drama, Leno did his best to stay out of the situation on-camera, going as far as letting Jimmy Kimmel comically fillet him on his own show. Thus, we probably cannot expect him to come out tonight and mention the events. In fact, I would be shocked if he even mentioned it at all. Instead, expect a lot of jokes about the Olympics -- watch out Canadian women's hockey team! -- and probably even some Tiger Woods stuff. Because Jay is that funny. 

But, we all tuned in back in September when his 10 PM show debuted, perhaps hoping that something would be different even though we all knew it wouldn't be (the no-desk, more-fidgety leg thing doesn't count). Or perhaps because we are pathetic gluttons for punishment. 

Yet, after all that groundswell of support for Coco and anti-Leno rhetoric, wasn't it all for not? Conan's gone -- but on Twitter! -- and Leno's got his old job back. Not to make this a culture war, but his "old" fans will be happy and everyone who threw around #ImwithCoco will go on ignoring him after the first few nights -- if not from the beginning. 

And what about those celebrities who hitched a ride on the Team Conan express back in January? The biggest star of the bunch that included Ben Stiller, Ice T, Christina Applegate has to be Tom Hanks and it looks like he'll be appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman in hopes of keeping the CBS giant on top. But what happens when Hanks' next film comes out? Will he really not go on the air with Jay? And although Hanks has the pull to avoid a situation like that, some of the lesser stars probably don't. However, I guess it's not like Jay has the balls to confront anyone who knocked him anyway, so maybe it doesn't matter.

Finally, what about the program itself? Kevin Eubanks' departure is NBC/Leno's way of mixing things up, just as the no desk thing was. Man, these guys are creative. I assume it's just going to go on, business as usual with unfunny stand-up and terrible "bits." And sadly, after all the bluster that blew through social media a short time ago, no one is going to raise that much of a fuss about it.

We are back to square one with Jay and Conan's gone. So did any of our clamoring matter?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting blog, Cory. Jay Leno (part of Baby Boom Generation, born 1942-1953) vs. Conan O'Brien (part of Generation Jones, born 1954-1965) reflects a broader battle happening throughout Western cultures: the emergence of Generation Jones leadership vs. Boomers clinging to power. GenJoneser Obama's ascendance following 16 years of Boomer Presidencies is the most visible example, but we find it throughout the West, where more than two thirds of EU leaders are part of GenJones (following two decades of Boomer dominance).

    Google Generation Jones, and you’ll see it’s gotten lots of media attention, and many prominent commentators from many top publications and networks (Washington Post, Time magazine, NBC, Newsweek, ABC, etc.) now specifically use this term. In fact, the Associated Press' annual Trend Report chose the Rise of Generation Jones as the #1 trend of 2009. Here's a page with a good overview of recent media interest in GenJones:

    It’s important to distinguish between the post-WWII demographic boom in births vs. the cultural generations born during that era. Generations are a function of the common formative experiences of its members, not the fertility rates of its parents. And most analysts now see generations as getting shorter (usually 10-15 years now), partly because of the acceleration of culture. Many experts now believe it breaks down more or less this way:

    DEMOGRAPHIC boom in babies: 1946-1964
    Baby Boom GENERATION: 1942-1953
    Generation Jones: 1954-1965
    Generation X: 1966-1978