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October 31, 2014

The Jay Leno Show: Bill Maher/Brad Paisley and Sheryl Crow

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 29th 2009 2:43AM
Bill MaherThe show has fully hit its stride and rhythm by this, its third week. It also appears that it may have found its ratings level, hovering between five and six million viewers a night. Those aren't great numbers, but considering how much cheaper it is to produce than Heroes, which isn't doing much better, NBC would consider it a win if it stays there.

The problem with that, as I'm seeing it, is too many of the recurring segments just aren't working as well. An entire segment each night is devoted to these comedy correspondents, and eleven episodes in, they're more miss than hit.

Tonight, Owen Benjamin (The House Bunny) brought in a video of himself traipsing around LA offering to write jingles for smaller businesses. As with every other video segment they've done, it just went on and on and on. Even worse, none of the songs were funny.

BILL MAHER
Jay actually got political in discussing the problems in health care in our country while talking to Bill Maher tonight. I was impressed to see him getting right into a serious issue like this. I've come to expect little more than fluff from Leno on his shows, so I'm glad to see him willing to roll up his sleeve and talk candidly about things that people do care about in the middle of his "comedy" show for NBC.

And, of course, he got Bill Maher right in his niche. Maybe it was all planned from the beginning to allow Maher to go into his own rhetoric, but either way it made for an intelligent and serious discussion, told with humor. Both comedians challenged each others points. I wish more interviews were this genuine.

As I mentioned before, Leno makes his guests "earn their plug" now. He even has a graphic for it. Tonight, though, all he had Maher do was participate in a segment with him reading real emails and texts from political scandals. I thought this was for them to either humiliate themselves or show us some hidden talent. How exactly did Bill earn his plug, other than being the funniest part of the show?

BRAD PAISLEY AND SHERYL CROW
I think Leno should stride to have a musical guest on every episode. It helps us move through the hour, which can get otherwise pretty tedious. Plus, with his primetime slot, it's a great opportunity for exposure for the recording industry. A great act can lure more viewers to the show, which is a win for both them and NBC. And it would mean fewer green car challenges.

It would help if they could avoid audio problems during it, though.

SUMMARY
Of course, "Headlines" is funny. There are moments of humor in his monologue, but for the most part, the show feels too long for me. I don't think the video correspondent segments are working and the green car challenge is a waste of air time. What is working are the interviews, the musical and comedy guests, and most of those closing bits. And for those who love his monologue, the monologue is as sharp as ever.

The problem is that those things do not make up an hour. Leno had multiple guests on The Tonight Show to fill the hour with talk, but now he has to do these correspondent segments, more comedy and video bits, and it's just not working. The show is starting to feel like an episode of Saturday Night Live where there are some great bits, but the whole thing goes on about 30 minutes too long most nights.

[Watch episodes and clips of The Jay Leno Show and other shows at SlashControl.]

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Kev

You say the bits are more hit than miss, then go on to say how they are not funny. I am confused.

I think Jay is good for a rerun night or when nothing else is on. I dunno why but I did like him better after the news. I think it's a shame that this prime time real estate (ya buzz term I know) is devoted to a talk show when we could have another cool drama. One benefit might be some of the newer dramas might be given time to gain an audience if they do so-so better than Jay.

September 29 2009 at 10:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Gunter

Monologue is ok as topical keeps the eps fresh,but like late night if it's rerun it's bad.Video segments are too long and shouldn't be on every ep,and new ideas are needed to fill that void.Didn't watch Maher,hate anybody who thinks he's smarter than everybody else,but generally the interviews go ok and Leno is doing well with that.That said when they do the 10 questions thing mostly they suck.More thought needs to go into that segment.I view this show probably how NBC wants me too,if there isn't something else I'd rather watch on at ten or I'm winding down for the night it's a generally good choice.I suspect it's here to stay at least for a few years.

September 29 2009 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David D

What? "Talk show"? This is COMEDY! All across America, people told NBC "We want more comedy!!!" With America's "#1 TV Personality"!!! (Actually, come to think of it, they probably weren't asked "Do you want more comedy with America's #1 TV Personality?")

I do agree, though -- why not do a weekly wrapup, with both your reviewers, instead of each individual show? That way you'll also have something original to post on Saturdays.

September 29 2009 at 8:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to David D's comment
Joel Keller

We're going to go another week with the nightly reviews, then figure out where to go from there. A weekly wrap-up may very well be in the cards.

September 29 2009 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ferley

Why do you guys review a talk show? All this is, is his late night talk show on at 10. You guys should review better shows then this.
I dislike Jay and what he is doing to NBC, and also upset at NBC for what they are doing to their network. It is like millionaire was in the early 00's, TOO MUCH.

September 29 2009 at 6:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tool

I haven't been tuning in the last week. If I knew Bill Maher was going to be on, I would have.

One of the things I do like about the show is the interview segment. Now that Jay has gotten away from the desk, it changes the dynamic. I think that this could really be something substantive and interesting rather than plugging the guest's latest book/movie/show/scandal.

September 29 2009 at 3:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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