Which Jay Leno Jokes Got the Comedian in Trouble With His Boss at NBC?

Mar 18, 2013  •  Post A Comment

"The Tonight Show" host Jay Leno is reportedly in the doghouse with NBC’s top entertainment executive. Writing in The New York Times’ Media Decoder, Bill Carter reports that Leno got himself in trouble with Robert Greenblatt by making jokes about the network.

Greenblatt reportedly took offense to monologue jokes Leno made last month after news reports appeared about NBC’s ratings slide and its fifth-place finish in the February sweeps.

Leno joked: "We are behind the Spanish-language network Univision — or as we call it here in Los Angeles: Cinco de Ratings.”

His follow-up jokes included: “It’s so bad ‘The Biggest Loser’ isn’t just a TV show anymore, it’s our new motto.” And: “It’s so bad, NBC called Manti Te’o and asked him to bring in some imaginary viewers.”

Greenblatt sent an e-mail to Leno complaining about the jokes, leading to "an exchange of pointed e-mails between Mr. Leno and Mr. Greenblatt," the report notes.

Carter adds: "One of the executives who saw the exchange said that Mr. Leno was taken by surprise by Mr. Greenblatt’s comments and strongly defended himself, citing the fact that late-night stars poking fun ‘at their masters,’ as the executive said, is in the long tradition of late-night comedy. Every late-night star, going back at least as far as Johnny Carson, has taken shots at network fortunes within the nightly monologue.

"This moment of conflict between Mr. Leno and NBC’s management preceded recent reports — denied categorically by NBC executives — that the network was preparing to make a change, moving out Mr. Leno and bringing in Jimmy Fallon, the star of its 12:35 program ‘Late Night.’”

9 Comments

  1. Mr. Greenblatt is s bit thin-skinned about the plight of his network. Some will joke that NBC’s experiment with Leno at 10 p.m. began the long, slow slide into fifth place.

  2. The trouble for BBC is that the Tonight Show is their only saving grace n the ratings. If they get rid of Jay it will simply be another move in the direction that got them in the mess they’re in now.
    It appears some people never learn.

  3. A twist on an old saying: “If you can’t stand the jokes, get out of the business.”

  4. Anyone that owns their own business, or is even a manager of a business, does not appreciate their employee’s making fun of them. Turn the situation around. If you were an employee, would you like your manager making fun of you? It’s a no-win situation when either the employee makes fun of the boss or the boss makes fun of the employee.

  5. Anyone that owns their own business, or is even a manager of a business, does not appreciate their employee’s making fun of them. Turn the situation around. If you were an employee, would you like your manager making fun of you? It’s a no-win situation when either the employee makes fun of the boss or the boss makes fun of the employee. Another old saying is, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

  6. Greenblatt doesn’t own the business, he’s just another shareholder in a suit with a little authority. Considering the history of late night hosts needling their bosses, he needs to get over it and do a better job.

  7. “Network Executive”…now there’s an oxymoron if there ever was one.
    Very few, over history, have not been morons.
    Peter Bright

  8. Greenblatt obviously needs to remove his head out from its current location.
    NBC is beneath the bottom of the barrel in ratings. Jay was doing what what he is getting paid to do ~~ tell jokes. Greenblatt may be in need of several more layers of skin if he plans to remain in the business.

  9. Greenblatt should watch the show and ask himself: are the jokes getting laughs? If they are then you can be assured that those people will probably tune in again.
    Then send a letter to Leno stating that–if it’s good for the show–I’ll be the butt of your jokes anytime!
    THAT’S what a good executive does for his network.

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