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October 7, 2015

Can Jeff Zucker be impeached over this Leno development?

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 9th 2008 10:44AM
LenoI read Brad's post about NBC keeping Jay Leno in the fold and I think it's the latest move by NBC to ruin TV. Can Jeff Zucker be impeached? I'm so fed up with the way he's be running -- ruining -- the network that I'm ready to bust. Seriously, is there anybody over there that still has any connection to what viewers want to see?

Basically, NBC is ready to try something completely radical and -- in my estimation -- ridiculous, even though it would keep Leno from being lured to another network.

The idea from NBC's point of view makes sense financially. The costs for a stripped, one-hour comedy/talk show with sketches will be considerably less than creating original dramas or comedy programming. It's probably cheaper than the unscripted reality that's infested the TV screens, too. And knowing Zucker, he'll tell us that the ratings and demographics will be better with Leno nightly than any new programming NBC has tried.

As a TV fan, I don't give a flying fig about NBC's bottom line. My bottom line is entertainment and the idea of seeing Jay Leno every night at 10 doesn't cut it. And what does it say about NBC that they don't even want to try to develop new drama shows. Just because My Own Worst Enemy and Lipstick Jungle have failed is no reason to abandon the cause. After all, ER is a 10 o'clock show; so is Law & Order SVU. NBC may not have had much luck lately at 10, but is that a reason to dump the hour -- oh, okay not dump...commit -- to Leno?

I do not believe that Leno is worthy of this kind of deal. To me, The Tonight Show made Jay Leno a star. Take him off that American institution and he's going to sink like a stone over time. He's just not that funny.

Speaking of American institutions, NBC apparently offered Johnny Carson this same set up in the 1980s and he turned it down. I'd like to think that Carson agreed with me that this is a foolhardy move.

Another thought: if you were Conan O'Brien or Jimmy Fallon, would you be happy to hear that every night of the week before you go on the air, Leno is going to be preceding you with similar topical comedy and (perhaps) better guests?

So, I'm saying it and I mean it. I want Zucker out. I think he's systematically undermined NBC to the point that it's now the fourth network. Before he gets the chance to do any more damage, please, stop promoting him and just cut him loose. NBC needs new, fresh management.

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Greg Struss

I totally can relate to and understand your frustration, but the Leno deal makes a lot of financial sense. It not only keeps him in the NBC family, but allows for what the network hopes to be a strong lead in to their local o and o newscasts which are usually in second to third place in all of the major markets.

To me, Jay Leno was smart, NBC was smart and even if Conan and Jimmy feel screwed, it makes sense to maintain him in a similar format.

January 13 2009 at 1:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love Leno but i think this is one of the worst decisions ever made on network television, even worse than Katie Couric's transfer to CBS. Leno should have gone to ABC -- he would have gotten more respect, more money, higher ratings and kimmel would get a better lead in.

This along with news that the office will air after the superbowl instead of Heroes or Chuck is yet another reason why NBC programming sucks and a change needs to be made. The office will never be a household hit and heroes and chuck need the boost in the all competitive monday nights.

December 11 2008 at 12:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael K Pate

NBC has been in freefall since 2000 when they made the fantastically brilliant decision to cancel two popular shows, Pretender and Profiler, to make way for Vince McMahon's WWE version of pro football, the XFL.

That decision cost them 3 hours of primetime. SNF cost them 4 more. This Leno decision costs them 5 more. If this keeps up, the primetime programming window will be 8:00-8:30 pm four nights a week.

December 10 2008 at 7:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with Craig, and I disagree with comments saying this is a mistake. I think this is a smart move on NBC's part, and while I'd much rather have a scripted show in that hour (I really enjoy My Own Worst Enemy), since they aren't iving it a chance to grow, I think a new Leno show is better than some lame reality show. I'm not saying I'll what it; I think I now watch maybe 4 NBC shows & one less after Enemy goes, but for the general population of the US, Leno is a safe choice. I already have a 10 PM show just about every night anyway, but I would watch Leno occasionally if my other show was off or something. Just think how many shows NBC has tried at the 10PM hour ( although most haven't been given a REAL shot, i.e. "Journeyman"), this is defiantely going to be cheaper to produce. I'm betting that it works.

December 10 2008 at 3:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NBC may be stupid when it comes to programming, but I'll give them credit when it comes to financial decisions. Do you honestly believe that if scripted dramas at 10 were bringing in ratings they would have canned them? With E.R. finally being pulled off life support, what exactly does NBC have to put in that slot? My guess is if they can get reasonable ratings for the minimal cost, they'll let it ride; if not, by then Conan will have tanked and Jay can go back to 11:30.

December 09 2008 at 7:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is the idiot who came up with the idea of taking Chuck, Life, and (one other show, forget which) off the air all of January to replace them with asinine reality shows to somehow improve the ratings of Chuck, Life, and the other show.

Like I've said before, I could double NBC's profits by replacing Zucker and working out of my bedroom for 3 hours a day. I'd do it, too. NBC board - shoot me an email.

December 09 2008 at 6:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Believe me--even those of us still fortunate enough to work at NBC are scratching our heads wondering how J.Z. keeps getting promoted. He has done nothing but ruin this company since he became the "head honcho".

It used to be fun working here (10 years ago)...now everyone is full of attitude and anger.

I agree with whoever made the comment about what a deflation this must be for Conan. To be jazzed about being the new Late Night guy only to be upstaged by Leno--that's not right. If all this was in the works to begin with, why can't Leno do the honorable thing and step out of the limelight awhile? Then possibly re-vitalize that travesty Rosie O'Donnell tried to pull off a few weeks ago--but after a firm footing could be gained by O'Brien.

ARGH. It all makes me sick to my stomach.
The rich get richer...and promoted despite failing ratings.

December 09 2008 at 6:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matthew P. Christensen

Leno will do just fine at 10pm. The network will show specials during Leno's vacations. Remember though that Leno takes very few vacations. As for the demographics, CBS used to program for the older crowd, with shows like Walker, Murder She Wrote, (Why would anyone live in that town?) Diagnosis Murder, Jag...and they were the number three network.

CBS have now turned around and have a few shows that do quite well in the ratings. As for Fox, take away American Idol and look at where they end up in the ratings overall. ABC is also a strong second, although I only will watch Scrubs when it returns on January 6th.

So if this is what NBC needs to do, I don't care. I will watch Rescue Me on FX and Burn Notice on USA. If there is nothing else on that I want to watch or have on my TiVo, I will watch Leno.

Leno makes me smile, not laugh but smile, during his monologue, sometimes I even chuckle. I don't require him to do more, I don't ask him to do what he can't, I just want something on when I am paying my bills that won't piss me off.

As for NBC making money at your expense. Cry me a river...There is 400 channels on, go watch one of them. If you don't like what is on, change the channel. I like the fact that they are pulling back from the crap they put on TV. Put quality on and people will watch. Now NBC only has to come up with 10 hours of Quality programing a week...Re-Run three of their shows on Saturday if you missed them and Sunday is Football or a Movie.

As for Zucker, people in his position fail upward. It has been happening since there were nine planets and three men reading the news every night... Sometimes it works out.

Relax everyone... The sun will still come up tomorrow, the earth will still go around that sun and China will still be cheating in the Olympics...

December 09 2008 at 4:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Giving Leno 10pm would be a huge mistake for NBC, although they're probably looking at it from a cost perspective of producing a live show vs a scripted series. But they'll have trouble in the long term with not being able to air much repeats or achieve syndication with such an offering. Also you have to like Leno for this to work. Personally I don't find him funny, but I think people like to watch him out of habit. His audience, I believe, skews much older.

The writing has been on the wall for NBC for over a year now. They've all but said reality shows are more cost effective for them, and I think we'll start to see evidence of what they had brewing come January. It really doesn't matter if such programming is hugely successful from an audience point of view, just as long as it makes advertising money to sustain itself.

I don't see NBC caring much about quality as it does about the bottom line.

December 09 2008 at 4:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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