Since it’s now December (eek) the year that was 2009 is coming to a close. And you know what that means: for the next few weeks, end of the year lists and “best of” retrospectives will be filling up all of the magazines and Web sites that we love to read.
In the last 24 hours, we’ve come across two polls seeking to name someone “Person of the Year,” and looking for the public’s helpful insight in order to do it. Whether the actual winner of these polls will be named Person of the Year — or if they are just a way to draw visitors and hits — remains to be seen.
Where has the bulk of Jay Leno‘s young audience gone? Today on the mediabistro.com Morning Media Menu podcast, host Jason Boog of GalleyCat reported that 1.82 million young viewers have fled from the 10 p.m. hour on NBC that’s now home to the new primetime “Jay Leno Show.”
“It’s not news that his show’s not doing well, people have been talking about that for weeks,” Jason told co-host AgencySpy‘s Matt Van Hoven. “But the really funny thing is that CBS and ABC haven’t managed to pick up these viewers.”
Instead, the viewers are going to cable, watching taped shows on their DVRs or (gasp!) simply turning off their TVs. Asked Matt: is it possible that this demographic might not return to TV? Jason thinks so. “There’s just so many options available to people so you can get what you want rather than surfing around to get what you want,” he said.
Also discussed: Are people watching more news video online than on cable news networks? And a recap of what happened yesterday when David Letterman‘s alleged extorter Robert Joel Halderman appeared in court.
You can listen to all the past podcasts at BlogTalkRadio.com/mediabistro and call in at 646-929-0321.
Broadcasting & Cable:An exclusive Q&A with Jay Leno. He talks about the negative press he’s received recently and what’s it’s like to work at NBC: “I find there’s a lot of anger at NBC. But it’s like I say to the people who write the dramas: If I weren’t doing this, it would be “Dateline” five nights a week or reality shows. We’ve kept work in California, we have 22 WGA writers, but there’s always going to be anger and resentment. The last couple of weeks I’ve seen some articles that are a little more, ‘It’s not Jay’s fault, its NBC’s fault,’ and that’s OK, I get it. But when your name’s on the thing, you take the hit and that’s fine.”
“At this moment, there are more females serving on the United States Supreme Court than there are writing for “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Jay Leno Show,” and “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” combined. Out of the 50 or so comedy writers working on these programs, exactly zero are women. It would be funny if it werenâ€™t true.”
Scovell is not shy about equating this dearth of the fairer sex to the scandal that erupted earlier this month that revealed Letterman’s proclivity for hooking up with female staffers. But what’s unique about her perspective is that it’s one that has been lacking from the whole Letterman debacle: the view of a woman on the inside. While we may not yet have heard the story from Letterman’s former assistant and reported lover Stephanie Birkitt (we’re waiting for exclusive primetime interview with her for sure) or any of the other women Letterman is said to have bedded, we at least have Scovell’s take:
“Did Dave hit on me? No. Did he pay me enough extra attention that it was noted by another writer? Yes. Was I aware of rumors that Dave was having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Was I aware that other high-level male employees were having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Did these female staffers have access to information and wield power disproportionate to their job titles? Yes. Did that create a hostile work environment? Yes. Did I believe these female staffers were benefiting professionally from their personal relationships? Yes. Did that make me feel demeaned? Completely. Did I say anything at the time? Sadly, no.”
Would more women on writing staffs have curbed Letterman’s actions? Maybe, maybe not. But Scovell does make a case for including more women on the writing teams, and offers some good ways to do it, too. Now head writers and producers: what are you going to do about it?
Even before the Primetime Emmys opened with a musical number by Neil Patrick Harris, the show’s host — who also served as co-producer — was a lamenting the death of network television.
“This may very well be the last year they’re on a network show,” Harris told New York magazine in a a profile featured in last week’s issue. “This wheel contract they have, where each year a different network gets the show, as the ratings decline it becomes less of a good thing to ‘get it.’ It’s a very expensive show. Which means they have to get more ad revenue. Ads are less expensive, because ratings are down. So you have to do more ads, which makes the show smaller…and finally someone will do it on cable, where there won’t be any commercials. Which will be a wonderful show. Our three-hour show is only two hours and five minutes long, due to economics.”
If cable is a better outlet for award shows, is it also a better outlet for award-winning television? It seemed that way as a slew of the first few awards of the night went to basic cable shows — Toni Collette won Best Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on Showtime‘s “United States of Tara,” Glenn Close took home the Best Actress in a Drama Series award for “Damages” on FX, Bryan Cranston won Best Actor in a Drama Series for the second year in a row for his role in AMC‘s “Breaking Bad” and AMC’s “Mad Men” won the drama writing award and Outstanding Drama Series.
But, the networks still had a strong showing. Kristin Chenoweth took home the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series prize for her role in ABC‘s “Pushing Daises,” which was canceled even before nominations were announced. Jon Cryer took home Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for CBS‘s “Two and a Half Men,” Alec Baldwin won for the second year in a row for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for NBC‘s “30 Rock,” which also took home the Outstanding Comedy Series award for the third year running.
Still, the changing world of television as a medium was a prevailing theme throughout the show. At one point, Harris revisited his online persona, Dr. Horrible, to (literally) sing the praises of Internet television over network and cable TV — complete with “buffering” gag.
And in her acceptance speech, “30 Rock” creator and star Tina Fey took a jab at Jay Leno when she thanked NBC brass for not pulling her show off the air, “even though we are so much more expensive than a talk show.”
Even Harris couldn’t help mentioning network TV again in his sign off, telling viewers, “May we see you again on broadcast television again next year.”
After the jump, some Emmy highlights, including the Harris’ Dr. Horrible Sing-a-Long Blog bit.
If you can’t wait for Jay Leno to change the face of primetime television when “The Jay Leno Show” debuts on September 14, Time magazine has you covered.
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?
Silverman’s two-year stint at NBCU has been fraught with speculation of his inevitable exit thanks to expensive flops like “My Own Worst Enemy” and “Knight Rider.” But Silverman is also responsible for bringing NBC’s biggest hits, “The Office” and “The Biggest Loser,” which were also produced by Silverman’s former company Reveille, to the network.
Although no one was surprised that Silverman was leaving NBC, his sudden departure and the mysterious new venture have been somewhat of a shock. Last week, he participated in Fortune‘s technology conference and spoke to Poppy Harlow about his network’s plans for “America’s Got Talent” and Jay Leno‘s move to primetime (video above). Silverman would presumably want to see the launch of Leno’s new program, but his two-year contract with NBC expired this summer.
The Morning Media Menu podcast today features Ben Lerer, CEO of Thrillist. He spoke with Steve Krakauer and Rebecca Fox about how the email newsletter geared towards guys has expanded its reach — it now covers a dozen markets — despite the economy.
Lerer, who will be a speaker at Mediabistro Circus in New York later this week, said Thrillist was lucky to have “hit its stride” just as the economy started to trend downward.
“A lot of advertisers had just been closing their first deals with us [when the economy started to trend downward] and, if they’ve seen success, have been able to measure the value of working with us,” he said. “And we’ve been lucky enough that they’ve been coming back and continuing to spend even while their budgets have been getting smaller.”
Lerer also touted the benefits of using parties and events to reach out to new readers and advertisers. “We try to keep is stupid simple over here,” he said. “We have two goals. One is to build our audience with the right kind of guys and the other is to sell against that audience.” Events, he added “easily checks off those two boxes.”
Lerer also discussed challenges he’s faced as a young CEO and his take on Jay Leno‘s revolutionary move to primetime.
You can listen to all the past podcasts at BlogTalkRadio.com/mediabistro and call in at 646-929-0321.
Maybe it was because it finally stopped raining for five minutes, but the power-lunchers were out in force today at Michael’s. There was a crowd gathering in the lounge before noon waiting for tables. Of course, most of the regulars breezed in at their appointed hours, making sure they had plenty of time for glad-handing before settling in for some serious dish. Harvey Weinstein and Barry Diller did their fair share of hand shaking before getting down to business at separate tables.
I was lunching today with public relations powerhouse Lisa Linden and Tom O’Brien, president and general manager of WNBC. Tom had plenty to talk about, since these days it seems you can’t go anywhere without an NBC star beaming out from a TV set in a growing number of spots. Look for that to continue, says Tom. With the newscasts on WNBC-TV, the fledgling lifestyle channel New York Nonstop (now in 5 million homes), NBCNewYork.com and Taxi TV (in 5,500 cabs and growing), “We have the ability to get our content out across multiple platforms and reach people at any time of the day,” says Tom. Now the network has gone underground with their latest digital out-of-home effort, NBC in Transit, with video of news and NBC Universal entertainment programming broadcast on PATH trains between NYC and New Jersey. “We’re excited about this new way to reach an audience who isn’t waiting for news. It’s another great way for keeping people informed.” Coming soon: more televisions on the platform in Newark. Stay tuned…
I told Tom I have a particular soft spot for those adorable spots with Jimmy Fallon and that cuddly bear cub that seem to be playing in every taxi I’m in. “He’s doing very well,” reports Tom, who says Conan O’Brien‘s new show is set to debut June 1 and there will be an announcement about Jay Leno‘s new primetime show in two weeks. We’re all ears…
4. Barry Diller and an unidentified young fellow. Here’s a fun fact: Barry is a mogul on the move. I happened to catch him suiting up for a quick getaway after lunch as he slipped into a windbreaker and donned a helmet and sunglasses before revving up his Vespa and disappearing into midtown traffic.
In the latest issue of GQ, Jay Leno talks about his decision to stay at NBC, moving to the 10 p.m. time slot and his relationship with David Letterman. Some highlights:
Q [deputy editor Michael Hainey]: There’s a scene in The Late Shift where Jack Welch of GE gives you the edge over Dave [Letterman] for The Tonight Show because of your “loyalty.” You’re being loyal again to NBC.”
A: Yeah, it’s a gamble.
Q: Do you worry loyalty this time could be taking you to a not good place?
A: It’s worked fine up until this point. I’ve never argued about money. Dave makes a lot more than I do. Way more. And I’m number one. But that’s okaaaay. How much pie can you eat?
And then there’s the whole dust up with Letterman:
Q: I heard that you wrote Dave a letter, after he had his open-heart surgery.
Q: What was in the letter?
A: Oh, just how funny I thought he was and how I owed him a lot. How important he was to me and all that.
Q: Did he respond?
A: Uh, no.
A: But that’s okay. Where’d you hear that?
Q: That’s not okay.
A: Well, it’s not okay, but fine. What do you do, you know? I don’t know if he ever got it.
Q: It’s weirdly heartless.
A. I don’t know if he ever got it. He might not ever have gotten it. A middling might’ve said, “I don’t want to show this to Dave. It’ll upset him,” and thrown it away, so I don’t know. Ever talk to Dave?
Q: Ah, no.
A: Dave’s a great guy.
Q: Your relationship is a movie.
A: Well, it was a bad movie. That stupid Late Shift movie.
Q: Do you think you two will ever come around?
A: I hope so!