Just Because Prime Time Didn’t Work for Leno Doesn’t Mean a Creative Variety Show Wouldn’t Work at 10:00 p.m.

So Jay’s coming back and Conan is leaving the “Tonight Show.”  (Poor Conan, he and his staff only get $45 million in severance pay.)  Both of them failed in the ratings game when NBC tried the experiment of putting the Leno  format in prime time. Probably a lot of people will take this to mean that the format just won’t work in prime time.  Maybe Jay’s format won’t work – it didn’t work for me because it came across as tired and contrived – but that doesn’t mean a variety show featuring comedy and music won’t work.

It really depends on how it’s done.  Just look at the roaring success of “America’s Got Talent.”  Sure, it’s a reality show with winners and loser, joy and pain, laughter and tears as the contestants struggle to win the high-tech update of the old amateur show format.  Frankly, I fast forward through a lot of the judge’s nonsense to get to the actual acts. That’s what I am watching and  find entertaining.  As far as I am concerned, they can cut way down on the airtime they give to the judges.

What NBC should really try is not a return to canned, predictable drama series, but a real variety program,  a contemporary version of the Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan shows.  There are plenty of comedians, singers, dancers, actors, and other interesting and entertaining folks out there to make for a ratings blockbuster. 

Just moving Leno into 10 p.m., sticking with the tried and true,  didn’t work. You gotta get a little creative, guys. Take a few chances.

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One Response to “Just Because Prime Time Didn’t Work for Leno Doesn’t Mean a Creative Variety Show Wouldn’t Work at 10:00 p.m.”

  1. Rick Says:

    They don’t have to even be all that creative. Just do what they know works. I would love a variety show that highlighted live entertainment and comedy, or gave us access to interesting people. Wouldn’t if be great to have a contemporary equivalent of the Carol Burnett show? Nothing was funnier than watching Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway attempt to crack each other up during a skit.

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