Dec 30, 2007

The Leno Situation: Solved By Me

The late night shows come back on this week, so, I'm pushing up an article I had a week or so ago up to make it feel a little more "relevant."

Jeff Zucker, Fred Silverman, all you high muckity-mucks at NBC Universal, I have single-handedly solved "the Leno situation." It would involve a lot of sacrifices, but, in effect, it will not only keep Leno in the NBC Universal family but will also help cement the network's future for at least another decade or so.

To recap the "situation" for those that aren't aware, about four years ago, Jay Leno announced that he was leaving The Tonight Show and NBC named Conan O'Brien as the successor beginning in fall 2009. At the time, everything seemed cool. 2009 seemed like it was far away, and perhaps Leno felt that he'd be running out of steam by the time 2009 got here. Now, 2009 is practically next year. Leno is still getting high ratings on The Tonight Show and, though not directly, feeling as if he's being pushed out of his job for no reason (ah, karma is such a beast, ain't it?). Meanwhile, Conan still brings in the younger demographics that NBC hopes will come to The Tonight Show in 2009. Americans that aren't on either coast (some call them "flyover states" and others see them as "permanently red") aren't exactly gravitating to the antics of the younger, Harvard-educated, northerner. They see Leno as a nightcap, a perfect, safe end to an eventful day and Conan as a baffoon, a clown not worthy of sitting in Johnny Carson's throne, currently occupied by Leno.

I'm going to do something that a lot of people aren't doing. I'm going to defend Conan O'Brien. Conan is a talented comedy writer that has created a persona that is a combination of pure geekiness and intelligence. Yeah, Conan's smart. Harvard isn't exactly known as a party school, you know. Those that only see the self-depricating, clownish side of Conan don't see the talented individual that not only acknowledges the history and legacy of NBC late-night programming, but honors and respects it. Remember, NBC asked HIM, not Leno, to host the special celebrating NBC late-night programming a couple of years ago. Conan knows that he has a legacy to live up to, and I feel that he will. Truth be told, I think NBC was grooming Conan to be the Tonight Show successor about six years into his run on Late Night when he began to mature as a host.

People are always going to compare whoever the Tonight Show host is to Johnny Carson. Now, you may think of this as sacrilegious on my part, but I feel that Conan O'Brien is the heir apparent to the legacy of Johnny Carson. There are three hands in that aspect. Jay Leno is the physical successor to Johnny Carson. He was the man who currently sits where Johnny once sat. Does that mean that he should have? Absolutely not. Yes, he's good at hosting the Tonight Show, but he's not the one who should have been there in the first place. That distinction goes to David Letterman, host of Late Show and the true spiritual successor to the legacy of Johnny Carson. Letterman has not only cemented himself as a fixture on late-night progamming for almost three decades, but he has commanded the respect of generations of comedians and comedy writers, including the guy who's currently hosting his older show, Conan O'Brien.

Now, preventing any tragedy, digital television transition nightmare, or end-of-the-world scenario, Conan O'Brien will become the host of The Tonight Show in fall 2009. NBC wants to keep Jay Leno around because he still has a large audience and is still a marketable name. Plus, they don't want to lose him to Fox, who hasn't thought about late-night programming since the cancellation of The Chevy Chase Show. They know a game show would be an insult, though in his parodies of Jeopardy and Jaywalking All-Stars competitions prove he can hang with the best of them. And the thinking is that there's no space on the NBC lineup for any kind of nightly programming.

Of course, like most network executives, they're wrong, and I'm going to tell them WHY they're wrong.

You know that much ballyhooed fourth hour of The Today Show? It can go. It's not necessary and it's just a wasted, unnecessary hour. They've stretched a two-hour show farther than they should have, and it shows. Here's a plan. NBC could still own that hour, but that hour doesn't have to be in the morning. In fact, I have a perfect place for the NBC-owned hour:


It's a perfect bridge between the Nightly News and the Primetime lineup that I'm surprised networks haven't used in recent years. Syndication, or at least the remnants of what was a great syndication era, currently fills the slot with game shows, news shows, recent sitcoms, and court shows. They're fine and all, but perhaps the time is right for something old to return. A talk/variety show taking a cue from Merv Griffin and Mike Douglas that has celebrities, politicians, and extraordinary individuals as well as celebrating the everyday world in comedic fashion. In short, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

But make it live on the East Coast (well, "live" in the 21st century, meaning a five-second delay in case people be too real for the censors). And don't call it The Tonight Show. Call it . . . I don't know, Leno Live or The Live Show With Jay Leno. That'd be about four in the East and the day is pretty much over and everybody's settling in at home. Yeah, Leno would have to work harder and a little faster to get a live program ready, but he is a professional, and if anybody could pull it off, he could. Keep all the sketches from The Tonight Show intact (Headlines and Jaywalking, among others). In short, it'd be his old show in a new environment and with a more wide-awake audience seguing into NBC's primetime lineup, a lineup that would only grow with this addition to programming. Plus, the network could easily repurpose Leno's new show either on USA at 11 PM for those who want to see Leno in late nights or in the post-Last Call slot on NBC.

Leno would continue doing a talk show on NBC. Conan could do The Tonight Show his way. The only problem NBC should have now in regards to the late-night programming situation in 2009 would be who will fill the seat vacated by Conan. I have my own theories, but that's for another time.

Dec 16, 2007

Face of a Killer

Iconic Image of the Centauri by ~nemalki on deviantART

I did that? Hmm . . . perhaps I should take a break from the insanity of the internet more often.

Dec 12, 2007

And For That, I Smile

To my friends and acquaintances at Toon Zone as well as those that posted here at Thoughtnami. I thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I know I don't deserve that much praise, but I'm thankful for that and for you all for dealing with me in this brief episode of self-doubt. My grandfather isn't 100% by any stretch, but he's better today than he was at Thanksgiving. Life is still frustrating, but it's going alright for me, and I have no right to complain.

To Patrick. Patrick, Patrick, Patrick Okeke. Ronin, Ronixis, Novid, whatever. I thank you for your thoughts as well. You're everything I strive not to be, and you've pretty much reawakened me, and I thank you.


Because in your own fashion, you succeeded in showing who you really are, and for that, I smile. You've pretty much knocked me down when I was already at my lowest point. I apologized for what I've done to you for the umpteenth time, and what did you do Patrick?

You act like the southern end of a northward bound moose. You spit out diatribes like they were sunflower seed shells, and they're just as disgusting to look at. You're full of self-hate, self-loathing, and self-disgust. Me? I'm full of self-doubt, but the more I look at myself, what I have done in my nearly three decades in this existance, I've accomplished a lot. It took me a while to see that, but I can see that, and for that, I smile.

Patrick, unlike yourself, I don't hate my race, or, in my case, the race that determined my pigmentation (my paternal side is the decendants of Africans, Greeks, Powhattan, Dutch, and German while my maternal side, which includes my grandfather, is decended from English, West Indians, West African, Irish, Seminole, and Scots). They are who they are, and I am who I am. Although I am aware of the past (I am a descendant of slaves AND slaveowners), I am not guilted nor locked by it. I've formed my own path, walked along many directions, crossed many bridges, and discovered many things along the way.

I am human. I make good decisions and bad ones. I've made a lot of good choices. I've made a lot of bad ones as well. I trusted too many people (I even trusted you a lifetime ago, I truly did, but you used an alias to publicly call me a half-breed and other derogatory names and continue to hide behind monikers to make libelous statements about me and the individuals I associate with; I grew up and stop hiding behind false names a long time ago) and made just as many foes as acquaintances. I've earned the respect of many individuals over the years, including Mr. Beck AND Mr. Amidi, who you've name-dropped in your post, Patrick. I'm not a name-dropper, but I do have a number of animation icons in my address book that could fill a who's who in animation.

I'm not a slave to anybody. I have the right and freedom to talk about anybody I can. Nobody's my boss, as you've claimed. I've made my own path and will continue to do so. I've lived a good, honest life and never got on anybody's bad side. I believe in the golden rule and I live a good life as a result. I've sacrificed a lot in this life, and I know God sees this and He appreciates this. Have you ever sacrificed anything, Patrick? I've sacrificed over five years of my life taking care of my grandfather when no one else would. The careworkers of America are the most underappreciated individuals though they truly do a lot. You know how you can repay your country? SERVE IT IN THE MILITARY!

I apologize for past actions that I regret because I am ashamed that I've done that. I don't apologize because I'm hoping to get an acceptance, because in your case, Patrick, acceptance will never come.

I have started a legacy, as people have already pointed out. Patrick, I think that, in the end, you hate me (let's face it, you hate me for petty, childish reasons, and that's okay. I don't hate you. I never had, and I never will).

And here are some of the reasons why you hate me.

I've created a community of like-minded fans with the help of my friends which became a part of a larger community I've helped build. I've created a pair of sites that some people say is inspiring to them. I just write down what I'm thinking, and if people agree with it, so be it. I've earned a loyal group of readers who understand what I'm going through and will likely stick around long enough to see what happens next. I've helped create a group that educated the world about an then-underappreciated block of shows created by our generation. Yes, I know Toonami has suffered lately, but we've done our part. It's time to remind them we're still around. One day, I'll create a legacy, settling down, create a family, and truly grow up. I've grown a lot over the years, but these last couple of weeks have been taxing on me. But I know who I am. I know what I have to do. I know what I'm going to do. You don't have that confidence nor sense of certainty about yourself, which is why you constantly berate me, try to humiliate me, and try to knock me down, even when I thought I was already out.

In the end, I win. I've already won. I could disappear from the internet forever, but I've already won. I've done more in the last ten years than many folks do in a lifetime. I'm not proud of everything I've done, but there are moments I look and say, wow, I did that. I could look back at 99% of what I've done with pride.

And for that, I smile. And I will be back sooner than I thought.