I hate to say “I told you so,” but – I told you so.

Well, maybe I told you so isn’t the proper fit for this type of news scenario, but it sure feels like I was ahead of the game when I said Leno would fail in the 10pm timeslot.  Sure, his premiere ratings were good, given that everyone wanted to see what Leno had up his sleeve at the point.  But there has been a steady decline since then.

NBC didn’t want to fight Leno for ratings if he were to go to a different network.  So they made him all kinds of promises, and signed a 5-year contract that included 2 years in the 10 pm timeslot.

Also, NBC really wanted Conan O’Brien to take over the Tonight Show.  And who can blame them?

But the dilemma now is that Leno is failing, and NBC can’t figure out what to do with him.  I don’t see them giving him the Tonight Show back, especially since Conan has average ratings and isn’t failing miserably.  And also, Conan has a contract with NBC, and if they break it, NBC will end up owing Conan a fortune.

They still have to do something with Jay Leno.  So, the Tonight Show is out of the question.  There has also been some talk about moving the Tonight Show to air a half hour later, and using Leno as the direct lead in.  Also a mistake, in my opinion.  And quite unfair for Conan.  He’s not getting a fair chance to show what he’s got because Leno keep screwing around.  If NBC DIDN’T have Leno, especially as a lead in, would Conan do better in the ratings?  Would it be a better show?  And what if he didn’t have to compete with Leno?  Would that make a difference?  And what about that hack, Jimmy Fallon?  Is any of this affecting HIS late night show?

A quick segue about Jimmy Fallon: I don’t like him as a late night talk show host.  I pretty much think that his looooong microphone, and the way he holds it, has something to do with him having an inferiority complex.  Or perhaps it’s a penis thing.  Whatever it is, he might be a comedian, but he was not built to host his own talk show.  His monologues seem forced.  His interviews seem forced.  And he looks genuinely uncomfortable onstage.  The long and short of it is: I don’t like Jimmy Fallon.

End Rant.

And back to Leno.

I don’t like Leno either.  I pretty much think he is far too full of himself for his own good.  He’s not all that funny.  And he puts himself on a pedestal, because he’s convinced he’s better than anyone else.

What NBC should have done was put a gag order on him, preventing him from signing with another network for a period of time.  That way Conan would have gotten a chance to catch his stride, and then we’d find out that Fallon really does have a penis complex.  And THEN we can deal with what Leno wants to do.

Either way, everyone has a contract, and everyone has the possibility of losing big in this.  So it’s just a matter of time before NBC decides what comes next.  Hopefully they’ll make a smarter decision about their 10 pm slot.

What I find interesting is the lack of scripted shows during that time.  On most local networks, you’ll find news.  And there is nothing wrong with watching the news.  But networks like CBS have really nailed it on the head with their 10 pm programming.  Why can’t other networks fall in line?  There is a serious lack of quality programming out in the world today, mostly in the form of scripted shows.  Is it the lack of good ideas, or what?  Whatever it is, something needs to be done.

CBS has a great thing going with the 10 pm lead in for the news, and the news being the lead in for Letterman, and then on to Craig Ferguson, who is – cough cough – my favorite late night talk show host.

The point is NBC is in trouble, and they need to make some serious decisions before they end up having to pay a fortune to anyone.

What do you think about late night television these days?  And who should come out on top?

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