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October 6, 2015


Jay Leno's 'Tonight Show' Return Is a Ratings Winner

by Gary Susman, posted Mar 2nd 2010 2:30PM
Jay LenoMeet the new boss, same as the old boss.

To no one's surprise, Jay Leno's much-heralded return to 'The Tonight Show' on Monday was a ratings success, at least according to early overnight numbers. According to the Hollywood Reporter, advance numbers show Leno winning his timeslot with a 5.4 rating in metered market households and a rating of 2.0 among adults 18-49. That easily beat the 3.0 household rating for 'The Late Show With David Letterman' on CBS and the ABC ratings (cited by Entertainment Weekly) of 3.4 for 'Nightline' and 1.8 for 'Jimmy Kimmel Live.'

Leno's return had coattails too. Following 'Tonight,' NBC's 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' posted a 2.1 rating, twice its fourth-quarter 2009 average and enough to beat usual timeslot victor 'The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson' by 40 percent.

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The Late Night Wars: Winners and Losers

by Gary Susman, posted Jan 22nd 2010 9:00AM
Now that the battle over 'The Tonight Show' is officially over, with Jay Leno taking back his old job and Conan O'Brien all but out the door with an eight-figure severance check, it's time to sift through the rubble to see who's come out on top. Surprisingly, the debacle has turned out to be a win for almost everyone involved, with three glaring exceptions.

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Leno gets questioned by the WGA

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 26th 2009 12:03PM
LenoRemember when, as all the late-night shows came back during last year's writers' strike, Jay Leno mentioned on the air that he was writing his own monologue jokes? As you might expect, that didn't sit well with the rank-and-file of the WGA, but the guild decided to ruminate on it because a) he was very supportive of the union at the beginning of the strike and b) it's Jay Leno.

Apparently, though, the union has had a change of heart. The Tonight Show's outgoing host has been called to testify to the union's trial committee on charges that he violated the terms of the strike by writing for himself. Both Leno and NBC claim that there was language in the strike terms that said performers could write for themselves, even if they were guild members like Leno. The union, however, disagrees.

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Jay Leno, who loves ya baby?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 16th 2008 1:02PM
Jay Leno's move into primetime surprised just about everyone with a television and a central nervous system.

NBC's Tonight Show chair might have been the throne of late night royalty, but it's not an aristocracy. That assumption caused the infamous late night fiasco when Johnny Carson retired and pushed David Letterman to CBS. It's that same assumption that has everyone's jaws dropping out of their ligaments.

But just like the Super Bowl, little league baseball, or a hottest-wet-buns-in-jeans contest -- there must be winners and losers. Here are the people who should and shouldn't be loving Leno right now.

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Ferguson tops Conan for the first time

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 12th 2008 10:09AM
Craig FergusonThings are heating up in the late, late night wars. That's the 12:35 AM talk shows, as opposed to the late night 11:35 shows. In the most recent Nielsen ratings, Craig Ferguson's CBS Late Late Show rated higher than Conan O'Brien's Late Night. That's the first time that's ever happened, and industry analysts are scratching their heads to figure out if this is the pendulum swinging in CBS's direction, or simply a minor glitch in NBC's late night dominance.

NBC has declared that it supports Conan O'Brien completely and is unconcerned about the gradual shift in the numbers that have been going on for a while. It's in NBC's interest that Conan remain a strong player, especially since he will be taking over the Tonight show in the near future -- once Jay Leno's contract comes to an end in 2009. While tipping its cap to Ferguson for the ratings victory, NBC also noted that in the 18-49 demographic, Conan is still the leader in that time slot.

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Jay Leno apologizes for gay remarks from Phillippe interview

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 2nd 2008 11:38AM
LenoYou would think since Don Imus and his dumb attempt at humor got him kicked off of MSNBC that TV personalities would think before they joke. You would like to think that's true -- but it's not. In the latest bit of amazing insensitivity and stupidity, NBC's Jay Leno has apologized for a gay gag.

The star of Tonight was chatting with Ryan Phillippe the other night about the star's new film Stop-Loss. Thanks to some crack researcher on the Tonight writing staff, Jay decided to ask Ryan about one of his earliest acting jobs -- playing Billy Douglas, a closeted, gay teenager on One Life to Live struggling with his sexual identity. In a flip way, Leno asked Ryan to show him what it was like when he was playing gay. He said, "Can you give me your gayest look? Say that camera is Billy Bob... Billy Bob has just ridden in shirtless from Wyoming."

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Jimmy Kimmel comes back from appendectomy tonight

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 26th 2007 12:24PM
Jimmy KimmelWhen I wrote about Jimmy Kimmel's emergency appendectomy last week, a large number of well-wishing comments came in from an unusual source: Clay Aiken fans. Apparently, a link to the post showed up on an Aiken fan site and Claymaniacs from all over decided to show their love for Kimmel, who apparently has gotten awfully "close" to the singer when he appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Well, the Claymaniacs and the rest of Jimmy's fans can rest easy; Kimmel is returning to his late-night talk show starting tonight, less than a week after the surgery. "I feel much better now and am delighted to announce that Brad and Angelina may choose to adopt my appendix and give it a loving home," he joked in a statement. Will Jimmy be hooked up to an IV tonight? I guess we'll have to tune in to find out.

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CBS reruns HIMYM's Slap Bet episode tonight

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 23rd 2007 1:03PM
Slap BetI usually don't highlight repeats, but this is a special case:

Tonight, CBS will rerun what I thought was the funniest half-hour of TV in 2006: the "Slap Bet" episode of How I Met Your Mother. I'm not the only one who thought the episode was a high point of the 2006-07 television season, though: The Boston Globe thought it was the 2nd best episode of any show that aired in 2006. And Alan Sepinwall of the Newark Star-Ledger felt at the time that HIMYM made what he called "The Leap" after that episode, meaning that the ep had propelled the show to a higher quality level (though, like me, he later realized that it was more of a "high-water mark." And, also like me, he fell into the trap of comparing subsequent episodes to it).

What made the episode so great?

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If you liked The Jake Effect pilot, tune into Bravo tonight

by Joel Keller, posted May 25th 2006 5:38PM
The Jake EffectNow I understand why Bravo only put the pilot for The Jake Effect up on their new site BrilliantButCancelled.com; they wanted to whet everyone's appetites for the rest of the seven episodes that were produced. So if you loved the pilot -- and from what I saw of it, it looked pretty good -- you can watch six episodes of the show on Bravo tonight, starting at 8 PM. The six episodes will include the pilot. I might actually have to crank up the ol' VCR for this one (yes, I said VCR... got a problem with that?).

[via Pop Candy]

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Howard Stern's first satellite show to air On Demand tonight

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 9th 2006 3:55PM
howard stern siriusDid you miss Howard Stern's triumphant debut on Sirius this morning? I didn't; I woke up at 5:30 excited to hear the new show. I even had to devise an "antenna on a stick" in order to get decent reception. But at 6, Howard came on and ended up doing over five commercial-free hours of unrestricted radio. He and the crew sounded energized and loose, and the program, while it didn't have a lot of profanity, did have a nice uninterrupted flow that I haven't heard on the show in fifteen years. It was quite a satisfying listen.

(UPDATE: I forgot about one other new wrinkle to the show: George Takei is the new announcer! He'll be on the show live all week. He meshed surprisingly well with the cast. What a great move.)

What does this have to do with TV? You mean, besides the unyielding coverage that will be on the news and entertainment shows? Well, somewhere during the morning, Howard mentioned that the entire first show will be available on his Howard Stern On Demand channel later tonight. So if you have HSOD and are curious as to what the new studio looked like, keep an eye out for the program tonight.

[Photo: Richard Drew/AP]

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