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Marianne Paskowski

Late Night Yawns, Not Yucks

December 5, 2007 1:46 PM

As the writer’s strike continues with no end in sight, which network executives are making the call on what reruns will appear each night? Largely it looks like a throw of the darts to me.

I’ve seen good programming strategies and really, really bad. In the plus column, NBC’s `Saturday Night Live’ programmed the Saturday after Thanksgiving brilliantly. It went deep into its treasure trove and stitched together themed segments from over the years, touching on the holidays and showing original cast members like Gilda Radner and Dan Akyrod. The humor withstood the test of time and the show was a riot.

But not so with Late Night’s Jay Leno. The other night I was watching a rerun from the ‘90’s when Bill Clinton was still in office and the government had shut down in November. There were references to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, even though the event is over and it’s now December. Out came the remote and I zapped him.

Leno’s commentary on the headlines of the times simply does not withstand the test of time. With Christmas coming up, given the duration of his time on TV, can’t the network suits fill the time more appropriately like SNL did? I recommend stitching together some of Leno’s holiday- related monologues, for starters.

So jump in with your programming strategies, Leno’s team is clueless.


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Comments (14)

My recommendation would be to bring back Johnny Carson reruns!

Marianne Paskowski:

Hmmm, Dana,not a bad idea given that Carson died in January. Could celebrate his life. Thanks for the post, Marianne

Chi-town Mike:

Enough with the reruns and lets end this strike already! I seemed like last century that Jay Leno had dark hair... In fact it was last century! Reality TV is what really put us in this predicament in the first place. Networks tried cutting the fat years ago when they went away from writing the next Seinfeld to copying the next Survivor. Sure some shows were entertaining (The Osbournes, Fear Factor, The Surreal Life) but unfortunately network television didn't know when to pull the plug on reality. Lately reality TV is scripted, recycled, and rehashed. How many of you out there can honestly sit and watch a reality show today without wondering how "real" it is? Give me back the opportunity to laugh at something new. If I really need my reality fix, I'll spend 5 minutes on Youtube. We should not only to pay our current writers on strike, but we need to hire more of them! That is truly the "Reality" of the situation...

Jay Moore:

Leno and Letterman should just cross the line already. Let them write their own stuff, they get paid enough. The writers will enentually cave in!

Jay Moore:

^ I meant to say "eventually" cave in!


Hi Marianne,

Glad to see you're back. As for the entertainment void in your TV life how about Leno or Letterman setting-up their desk outside the WAG picket line and interviewing the strikers. These are the men and women that put the words in their mouths so wouldn't be interestting to have them do some ad-libbing from the front line. Now wouldn't that be reality TV for you. Who knows, maybe we might even find an undiscovered talent to replace those tired hacks, Leno, Letterman, and Conan.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Chi,
Well is this strike continues, you're gonna see more reality shows. I don't watch any of them, like you give me Seinfeld. Lately I'm glued to Frasier reruns on Lifetime. They withstand the test of time.

Thanks for your post,

Marianne Paskowski:

Not gonna happen. Read somewhere today that Leno is paying his non writing staffers out of his own pocket until December, Christmas, I believe.

Like you, I thought it would be interesting to see how funny any of these guys would be without writers. Now we know, they don't have the guts to do it.


Marianne Paskowski:

Like your idea, sort off, but the talent, if you will, is showing solidarity with the strikers.
Thanks for your two cents!


Hi Marianne,

Well if you don't like my original idea and you are into reruns then let's resurrect some real classics and I don't mean SNL. Does anybody remember the Tonight Show as hosted by Steve Allen? Now there was entertainment with a cast that included Don Knotts, Louie Nye, Tom Poston and others. I don't know who owns the rights and they are all probably in black and white but there was hilarity. You were probably a baby when Steve was the host Marianne, maybe you weren't even born, but you and all of the people in the post-Parr era missed a real talent. The thing Steve Allen did on that show would make all of the present late night hosts look like a bunch of stiffs. Hey, Jayne Meadows, Steve's widow, could probably use the residuals so why not bring these things out of mothballs?

Marianne Paskowski:


I do remember, the show was a riot, a little slap stick.He had great timing, and if I recall, he didn't do a lot of commentary on the headlines of the day. He was just a lovable clown who hammed it up.


Not a big Leno fan (strictly a Letterman fan), but putting together some kind of themed shows might work.

Of course, the late night shows I really liked didn't last long - like Thicke of the Night...

Marianne Paskowski:


Was that Alan Thicke? If so, I hated the show. Meanwhile, was watching CNBC and people like Jim Cramer of Mad Money, write their own stuff.

Can't say I love the show, but he responds well to the headlines of the day. Maybe Leno and Letterman, etal, are being overpaid, so reliant as they are on the writers.


Yeah, that Alan Thicke. I think the appeal for me was the show's focus on interesting and rising musical talent - not just the Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan for the eleventy-hundredth time and such.

I've watched Mad Money many times. Cramer is a decent host and his topics are usually interesting. I'm not a regular viewer, but definitely not negative on him.

I've been spending my TV time lately at History, Discovery, TLC, etc.

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