According to the NY Times, Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports, claims that the reason for Jay Leno's rumored return to late-night is a simple one: disappointing ratings for 'The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien.'
Regarding the attacks on Leno made by O'Brien and CBS's David Letterman on their respective shows, Ebersol says it was "chicken-hearted and gutless to blame a guy you couldn't beat in the ratings," and "what this is really all about is an astounding failure by Conan."
One answer: Funny or Die. The website, which was co-founded by Will Ferrell and which features humorous videos ranked by how much they make viewers laugh, has become one of the most popular comedy websites on the internet. So it's only fitting that they're taking on the same comedic institutions that helped inspire their brand of humor: the kings of the late night monologue, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien.
On this morning's episode of ABC's The View, the women were talking about Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien and Walters said that last June, Jeff Zucker and other execs at NBC made an offer to Walters to come back to NBC, where she started as a host and reporter on The Today Show many years ago. Walters says she was flattered by the offer and "the fact that they would make an offer to someone of my age and consider that I still had years ahead," but decided to stay at ABC because she's happy there. Zucker then offered Walters her own show every single night at 10PM, but she still turned them down.
OK, I made up that last part.
Walters says that even if she had gone to NBC, she would have still kept her spot on The View because it's a daytime show. Though something tells me that NBC would have had something to say about that.
What a year! Once we got over the WGA strike, the networks kicked it into high gear and got busy making TV. Except for NBC. Even Jeff Zucker has admitted that NBCU has failed to respond to the need for new programming.
Fortunately, the other channels have been busy and there's been a lot of great television... and some that's just plain awful. But I'm a half-glass full kind of person and I have good feelings about 2009. However, since I don't want to repeat my list from last year, I'll just mention that I could put these 2008 best choices -- Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, NCIS, The Big Bang Theory and Mad Men -- on my list again. But I'm going to go for an all new list and, thankfully, I had plenty of 'bests' to choose from.
1. Glee. If there was ever a show that was made just for my personal taste, this is probably it. I love the singing and dancing. I get the characters. It even tickles me that I had just as much angst with bullies in high school as these kids. Every episode hasn't been perfect, but it's perfectly fine that they keep striving.
Everyone makes fun of NBCU because of the NBC's bumbling high-profile moves over the last half-decade or so, but the reason why the company was so attractive to Comcast was not the broadcast network, but its über-successful cable networks, especially Bravo and USA. Still, it's embarrassing to have your flagship net stumble around like a disoriented shopper on Black Friday. So, if I were in the Comcast executive suite, here's a few things I'd do to prop up the Peacock:
The Hollywood Reporter announced this morning that Comcast has shaken hands with General Electric, giving the giant cable company 51 percent of NBC Universal and Comcast's content assets.
Though the agreement was initially discussed in 2003, when NBC Uni had a higher value, the company is currently said to be worth $30 billion, with its recent acquisitions of Oxygen and iVillage.com, among others. Comcast, of course, brings along networks like E!, the Golf Channel and other sporting networks, valued at $7.25 billion. The final figure paid to GE will depend on what happens in talks between now and the close of the deal, but it is rumored to be about $6.5 billion. This will have Comcast exceeding the revenue assets of Walt Disney, Time Warner and News Corp.
Mediabistro got hold of an e-mail that NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker sent to employees. It's a long e-mail, but nowhere in it does he say that the rumors of Comcast (or anyone else) buying NBC are untrue.
That's exactly what the parent owners of Fox News and MSNBC tried to do when they arranged a "cease-fire" between them and their top-tier shows' "lieutenants."
The cease-fire, however, didn't last long. It's another case of the ol' Rufus T. Firefly conundrum for peace. Either side might be willing to do whatever it takes to end this war, but they've already paid two months' rent on the battlefield.
This is a clip of NBC boss Jeff Zucker being interviewed at the All Things D conference. He talks about Hulu, iTunes, NBC's woes, and how the industry has changed over the years. (This is highlights from the interview - full report here.)
Don't get me wrong. I've actually watched The Real Housewives of Orange County, as well as the New York City ladies and even the newest creation, those Jersey girls, The Real Housewives of New Jersey. The latter, in fact, are a hoot if you can get past the similarities to Carmela Soprano that imbue the entire series. I keep expecting Tony or Uncle Junior to pop up at one of their parties.
Well, there were rumors that on Monday at NBC's "infront" -- a preview for the "upfront" -- that Chuck would get a pick up. TV Guide says that's not the case. On Friday, Chuck star Zachary Levi told a reporter that Josh Schwartz, the Chuck exec producer, had emailed him that NBC's decision about Chuck was on hold. The pick up, if it comes, won't be for a couple of weeks.
Okay, there it is. The man has given up. He's basically admitting that his product is inferior and he doesn't think he'll ever catch up with his competitors. So, as a TV viewer, I have to wonder why I should invest in anything Zucker churns out at NBC if he doesn't believe that he's ever going to be number one again?
I hate to admit it, but I actually agree with Zucker to a point. CNBC's reputation did take a beating from this recession, and I wonder if they did hardball the executives like Stewart said they should, the companies could have cut off access and made reporting that much more difficult. I'm not saying CNBC was right in what they did. I'm simply saying that I somewhat understand why.
It's easy for someone like Stewart to call them out on this sort of thing. Being on a network called Comedy Central, most newscasters relegate him to the position of "cable clown." The Daily Show doesn't actually investigate news, unlike CNBC. It does something more akin to a half-hour opinion column based on the work of other news programs.
Ah, 2009. Come in, come in! Have a seat at my crystal ball. Oh, I know it's cracked, but don't worry -- it's still useful.
You are so young, so virile, my little new year. You are also ripe...ripe for me to predict your future. I see plenty in my cracked crystal ball -- yes, yes, it's working just fine. Some of it is good, some is bad, and the rest I can't see because of all the cracks. Those predictions probably don't mean much anyway. I mean, Dustin Diamond being cast in a remake of Cop Rock? Who would believe such tripe?
Oh, don't get up! Yes, Allison gave us her predictions already, but that was with a different ball. So, sit, sit, and let me predict your future in television through my fractured sphere.
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