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October 8, 2015

Leno show makes "radical" format change; looks more like old Tonight Show

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 11th 2009 10:42AM
Jay LenoIf you were one of the dozens of people who were watching The Jay Leno show on Monday, you might have been wondering why the "Headlines" segment came right after Jay's monologue instead of right before the local news. Were you stumbling upon a rerun of the old Tonight Show that was airing by mistake? Nope. It seems that, because of the low-and-sinking ratings Leno has been getting at ten, the producers have decided to "shake up" the format ... to make it look like the old Tonight Show.

Of course, changing a pretty moribund format back to a format that's even older isn't exactly a radical shift. But the producers are likely betting that returning to the successful Tonight formula is the way to go.

Here's the problem: people don't have the same ingrained expectations of a 10 PM talk show that they have of an 11:30 show. Instead of tuning into Leno as a reliable way to get them to sleep late at night, they're now tuning to him because nothing's on and their DVRs are empty. There are no expectations on their part.

When Leno told television critics over the summer that he'd shake up the format of the show, the best evidence he could give was that comedy bits like "Headlines" would lead right into the news. That seemed like a formula for boredom; why tune into a show at 10 PM every night that has such a static format? People are looking for something interesting at ten; having a big musical guest kick off a show, for instance, might have been something people would be willing to see at ten every so often.

I remember asking him during his session with the critics if he would toss up the format to keep people guessing; he tap-danced around the question until he conceded that certain bits would air at certain times. Now Jay and his producers are seeing that doing that doesn't work. So they're going to an even more predictable format. Yikes. I still think Jay at ten is here for at least a year; I just wonder if anyone is going to be watching by next fall.

[via TV Week]

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Moving Headlines up ain't gonna make a difference!

Pre-empting Jay for SVU or another 10 p.m. drama would do the trick!

November 11 2009 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The tears of this failure are so thirst-quenching....more twisting in the wind please

November 11 2009 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well now who is going to want to do The Jay Leno Show for interviews when it now direct competition for The Tonight Show format-wise?

Sheesh... this was such a bad idea.

November 11 2009 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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