Interesting to watch Jay Leno being interviewed by Oprah. She really got in there, as she is wont to do, but I think both of them are in the dark about why people are down on Leno.
As I said in yesterday’s Game Plan column about Conan, I don’t watch any of the late-night talk shows. At least not that genre. I’m all over Comedy Central or sitcom reruns late at night.
However, as an objective outsider, when the story broke about the whole NBC maneuver it seemed to me it was already a debacle. There was little or no mention of Conan’s poor ratings on The Tonight Show and the new scenario was presented as something that originated from Leno’s demise in prime time. Simple, really, why people took sides. By the time the news of Conan’s ratings seeped out, the frenzy was well under way and there was no way to get the genie back in the bottle.
That said, Oprah’s interview with Leno went a long way in explaining what TV folks in-the-know already seemed to get — that it came down to a business decision. And a poorly handled one at that.