This week’s cover story is about the talk show host, his new show and the future of television and NBC. Leno is the future of television, you see, and the success of his show could make or break the network. The expansion of “The Tonight Show” brand is also typical of the Jeff Zucker regime at NBC. Explains Time writer James Poniewozik:
“NBC in the Zucker era has been less successful at creating new hits than at strategically deploying old ones. Zucker gave us the supersized ‘Friends,’ the fourth hour of ‘Today,’ the two-hour ‘Biggest Loser.’ What’s still working at NBC? ‘The Tonight Show’? Why, then, NBC shall have two of them!”
Poniewozik says Leno is the future, but his new gig is just a retread of a strategy already employed by NBC and other networks. Talk shows and reality shows are some of the cheapest shows to produce, making them very attractive to nets, especially if they can snag high ratings. So what makes this newest venture different, revolutionary even?