The revolution may be televised but Jay Leno won’t be the host
For the past two weeks you couldn’t turn on your television without seeing a promo for a television show that was suppose to change everything. The show had a familiar host, a new time slot and supposedly a new format. It was a format that was suppose to save an NBC lineup that was ready to go up in front of the government death panel (those aren’t real? Who’s going to put NBC’s lineup out of it’s misery or at least put their viewers out of their’s?)
Just one problem, someone forgot to tell Jay Leno.
The premiere episode of the aptly named, Jay Leno Show, wasn’t so much a premiere as much as it was a rerun. Sure, there was a new set, no desk and the segments weren’t in the same order but it wasn’t enough to fool the American television watching public. It was the same show Leno had hosted for the past seventeen years, just earlier and with a few more gags. There was his signature monologue, his go to gag “Headlines”, Kevin Eubanks and even his fake interview segment that was a staple on the Tonight Show. Everything was the same just re-purposed to make us believe he and the rest of the old Tonight Show crew had become the “ready for prime time players”.
The definition of revolutionary is “something that is radically new or innovative; outside or beyond established procedure, principles” . The only thing truly revolutionary about the show was that it cost less than a drama to produce. That and the fact that it has afforded an older generation of television viewers the opportunity to get the Tonight Show they enjoyed in a time slot that doesn’t interrupt their delicate sleep cycle.
Although it’s too early to tell, it seems NBC’s desperate attempt to gain relevance will fall short. Jerry Seinfeld, a guest on the inagural episode of the show, has said, “In the early ’90’s when we left a show that meant for good”. Too bad he couldn’t have given the network and Leno himself that advice prior to Monday evening.
Television is changing. There’s no doubt about that. The Jay Leno Show had the potential to be a defining moment of the new face of television (and what a long chin it would have had). Instead it fell quite short.
The revolution will be televised. It will just take something more original and innovative to get it started.