The Jay Leno Show has had a rocky start. It hit it big with ratings in its first week but what is going to happen when ‘The Good Wife’, ‘Cold Case’ ‘CSI’ and others all start up later this month?
Despite his freakishly large fan following, something is going to have to change if Leno wants to hang onto his primetime gig. Here are my thoughts:
- Structure: There is a reason the Variety show hasn’t worked on primetime in years, because people like structure. Three acts, five segments, beginning, middle, end; whatever. Decide and stick to it. None of this “introducing a new segment” every episode stuff. Do the monologue, round table discussion (ie Real Time with Bill Maher or Chelsea Lately – definitely needed), interview, musical guest and close with your headlines/Jay walking/celebrity race track.. Whatever.
- No Games: Let’s just get rid of the games completely. This is not a Daytime talk show. I understand the need to differentiate it from “The Tonight Show” but there has to be another way. I don’t want to see Michael Moore earn being able to show his clip by singing to the audience. No thanks.
- Change The Opening: The night that the Leno show premiered, NBC launched a new marketing campaign with trendy graphics and a fancy slogan “More Colorful.” For some reason, that same night The Jay Leno Show premiered with an opening that looked and sounded as lifeless as ‘Saved By The Bell’ or ’90210’ (the original.) NBC is saving a butt-load of money doing this; spend a little on proper packaging. Maybe take a hint from Jimmy Fallon.
- Move it along: I like it when the producers pack more show than is possible to present in an hour. ‘The Jay Leno Show’ has been feeling like a High School television production that’s looking to fill the gap between lunch and gym. Jay was able to achieve this when he headed The Tonight Show. What happened?
- Re-Work The Set: I understand NBC dropped a pretty big penny on this new set and it looked pretty good when we first got a look at it. But, it’s just not working. The ‘interview’ area looks uncomfortable for both Jay and the guest and Eubanks feels like he is in another stage altogether. Change the lighting, new furniture, something. The set is just to big for the show.
Now if they happen to follow my ideas, The Jay Leno experiment may survive a full season. Then again, if that happens the show may also become responsible for the downfall of scripted television. So, there’s that….