Blackwolf vs. NBC Continues: The Return of Leno
Jay Leno had been absent from America's TV screens for less than a month, but he returned Monday night with renewed purpose.
"It's good to be home," he told his Tonight Show audience as he began his monologue, a transcript of which was provided by NBC before airtime. "I'm Jay Leno, your host. At least, for a while."
Leno reclaims his old job at The Tonight Show just 18 months after giving it up to Conan O'Brien, and a mere 19 days after NBC pulled the plig on Leno's own primetime misadventure.
"We were off for the last couple of weeks," Leno cracked in his comments. "Kinda like the Russians at the Olympics. What happened to 'em?" He further observed that among his guests on this, his first night back, was gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn. "Did you see her? When it comes to going downhill, there's nobody faster. OK, except NBC."
As he zinged his own network, along with former Vice President Dick Cheney, Toyota, and Tiger Woods, Leno signaled the resumption of the late-night war between him and his longtime CBS foe David Letterman, who had gained the ratings upper hand during Conan's brief, ultimmately tragicomic stay as Tonight Show host. NBC, for its part, is praying that Leno will comfortably setle back into his Tonight Show desk chair, where he reigned over late night (and repeatedly beat Letterman) for much of 17 years.
Already, however, handicappers were weighing whether Leno can recapture his momentum after leaving last May in favor of O'Brien, only to stumble miserably in his weeknight primetime hour, yanked just last month by NBC. So, too, were the viewers.
Dorothy Elayan, 50, from Louisville, Kentucky, and her 19-year-old daughter Jena, both of whom were visiting Southern California, for the first time, were waiting to enter NBC's Burbank studios for Monday's taping. Both stated that they had preferred Leno over Conan. "I didn't like Conan or his sense of humor," said Jena. "I watched The Tonight Show when it was Jay Leno." Her mom said that she'd remained a fan of Jay's, even in primetime. "I would like him earlier because I go to bed earlier. I was that one little person still watching," she said, commenting on Leno's disappointing primetime ratings.
Also waiting in line was another 19-year-old, Natalie Hanks, from San Clemente, California, who explained that while she found O'Brien funnier than Leno, she nonetheless wished that "there was room for both." Miss Hanks noted that Leno might face resistance from Conan's fans. "I've seen a lotta people on Facebook rallying around Conan. I think younger people" will boycott Tonight with Leno, she went on.
Meanwhile, rumors have abounded concerning the potential next step for O'Brien, widely seem as having been victimized both by Leno and by NBC's ham-handed shakeup that culminated in his departure. The most popular among these theories places Conan on the Fox network, butting heads nightly with Letterman and Leno. With NBC's much-watched blanket coverage of the XXI Olympic Winter Games now only a memory, the battered, often-ridiculed Peacock network remains desperate for something new to brag about. A successful trip back to the future, in the form of Leno's return to Tonight, might fit the bill accordingly.
Leno's other guests on his first night back were actor-comedian Jamie Foxx and singer-songwriter Brad Paisley. Letterman, meanwhile, countered with Bill Murray and rap star Ludacris. The Tonight Show and Late Show with David Letterman both air weeknights at 11:35 p.m., Eastern time.
Now, it's a curious fact, or so I would wish to believe, that NBC is trying to save face, and make you goodly gentles believe that all was quite hunky-dory in light of what happened with its Olympic coverage; and that the return of Leno might be the potential icng on the self-congratulatory cake. But if you've read my two most recent posts in this Diary of Magecraft, you clearly know otherwise.
The point, my dear children, is that television's corporate side has long had a history of lying to the people it has long been dedicated to serving. As I remember, an entire book, Hello, He Lied, was a knock-down, drag-'em-out account of one film producer's dealings with such so-called 'yes men'. Even our Exalted Father Merlin had to confront yes men back in ye day. In his time, such idiots were called serfs.
Corporate greed, like the lack of Imagination, remain the sole true constants in the Mutiverse; and I have yet to see someone in the entertainment industry --- ANYONE --- take a stand and say, "What the fuck are we doing? Why is this industry not controlling itself?" Sadly, the word control, like so many other things in this Life, is a concept many times used across the aeons, but never fully understood by the Mortals.
Granted, your Dragonmaster is ranting like a raging gryphon on the prowl, but, truth be told, there ain't any honest gryphons around this Multiverse with the balls, much less the chutzpah, to tell it like it is. Hence, this Diary of Magecraft. Clearly, this saga will go on ..... and I promise you all that I WILL BE ON THE WATCH!