Jay Leno's job appears safe -- for now
Comcast's NBC categorically denies a report that the talk-show host is on the way out.
"We are categorically denying the the reports on a plan for a late-night transition," writes Rebecca Marks, NBC's executive vice president for entertainment publicity, in an email to MSN Money.
Leno, who first took over "The Tonight Show" after Johnny Carson's retirement in 1992, and everyone else at NBC has good reason to be nervous. As my colleague Aimee Picchi recently noted, the network came in fifth in the recent sweeps period, when broadcasters showcase their best programs in the hopes of attracting the biggest audience. Even Spanish-language network Univision did better.
"NBC has certainly had happier times," said Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University's Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture, in an interview.
Leno continues to hold his own in the ratings. During the week of Feb. 18-22, "The Tonight Show" was No. 1 with viewers, including those in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic that advertisers love, according to NBC. Leno has delivered bigger 18-to-49 and total audiences than CBS' (CBS) "The Late Show With David Letterman" for 14 straight weeks. He has bested ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" for six out of seven weeks in the target demo and for seven straight weeks in total viewers.
The problem that NBC has is over the long term. The average viewer of late-night shows on the broadcast networks is his or her 50s and is getting older. Compared with cable shows hosted by Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, whose audiences are in their 30s and 40s, these viewers are ancient.
For advertisers, younger audiences aren't everything, but they are pretty close. That's where Kimmel, 45, is seen having an edge over more experienced rivals such as 65-year-old Letterman and 62-year-old Leno, which probably worries NBC and gives ABC parent Walt Disney (DIS) cause for optimism.
The NBC late night comedy lineup has had its fair share of drama in recent years. NBC announced in 2004 that Conan O'Brien would succeed Jay Leno as the host of "The Tonight Show" in 2009 only to reverse course the next year and gave the square-jawed comedian his old job back. O'Brien left the network and now hosts a show on TBS.
--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed shares. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
Leno is the only decent talk show host at 10:30 p.m. (Central). I enjoy his monologue, skits and interviewing skills.
Letterman is an aging cl**** with pathetic attempts at humor. I will never ever watch him, doesn't matter who he has for a guest. Kimmel tries but really lacks anything solid.
Really sad that Johnny Carson couldn't live forever. He was the (and still is) the BEST!
I have no respect for Letterman since he has been so critical of Leno over the years and Kimmel has made some negative comments about Leno lately. If these guys were as good at their job as Leno, they wouldn't need to be critical of him.
I quit watching them along time ago. They have gotten politically biased and, I guess to keep the younger people watching, somewhat nasty...especially Letterman.
I really shouldn't say now though because I really haven't watched any of them enought to know what they are up to at the present time but, it seems everything in t.v. has gotten so much worse, so I just assume the late shows have gone along with the flow. Gotta do something to keep up ratings,
They are all Obama lovers and bias as hell but at least Jay gives everyone a fair chance and invites all sides for us to see and hear what they have to say. I will stay with Jay. I do not like Kimmel or Conan. Like Jimmy but he needs to stay where he is right now.
See-I always knew Jay WAS bigger/better than all the others at 11:30 pm. Conan was a complete flop-only from HIS own doing. NBC was losing millions every week on him--so why pay him $34,000,000 to say 'good riddance'??? Wouldn't $10,000,000 have done it?? LOL I like Jay's show better than Letterman's (who sometimes seems to have a problem getting the words out of his mouth!!). I will stick with Jay for as long as he has his show.
I watch all of them from time to time. But I don't go out of my way to watch any of them.
They all get paid too much, IMHO. none of them are really worth the $$$$$,
think about....why, they are all "ok"...all of them just copied Johnny's stuff..
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