Entertainment behind the scenes
Days after it was revealed that “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” posted its lowest-rated second-quarter since rival talk show “The Late Show with David Letterman” launched on CBS in 1993, NBC is looking to the Obama administration for help.
The network said on Tuesday that Vice President Joe Biden would stop by Leno’s show for the third time on Friday. Biden first visited the Burbank set in March 2007, as a U.S. senator. He returned in October 2008, as a vice presidential nominee.
Biden is scheduled to share the spotlight with Adrien Brody and musical guest Chris Isaak. Maybe, Biden and Leno can swap notes over their ratings problems. If politics isn’t your thing, Letterman has booked Kate Hudson, Indy 500 Winner Dario Franchitti and musical guest Sarah McLachlan.
While Leno still leads Letterman, his Q2 ratings fell to their lowest levels among total viewers, adults 18-49, and adults 25-54 since 1993, according to Nielsen data parsed by Deadline.com.
Sure, TV networks may already be looking ahead to the fall — they’re all gathered in New York this week unveiling next season’s line up to advertisers – but viewers are still anchored firmly in the present, waiting with bated breath to see how their favorite TV shows will leave them hanging through the summer — or, in some cases, permanently.
CW’s freshman breakout hit “The Vampire Diaries” was one of the first shows to wrap for the season last week with a heart-stopping finale that the New York Post’s PopWrap said set the bar “for which all other 2010 season finales will be judged.”
If “Law & Order” were a killer, it would have received the lethal injection years ago.
A report circulated Thursday that the NBC crime procedural famed for its “ripped-from-the-headlines” plots might finally be canceled at the end of its current 20th season, just one year short of replacing “Gunsmoke” as the longest-running drama in American primetime history.
It has become a battle of who can win the most sharp-tongued digs.
Conan O’Brien’s statement released two days ago that he will not be bullied by NBC back into a later timeslot has sparked a competition over which late night host can squeeze in as many quick fire NBC slaps in their opening monologue as possible.
On Wednesday night O’Brien was more combative in his comedic tone than the previous night, in a message directed to “the kids out there watching: You can do anything you want in life. Unless Jay Leno wants to do it too.”
Conan O'Brien could well be headed to Fox after making it clear to NBC that he will not go graciously into the later night. But a channel-changing question that is making the rounds has more to do with what the drama unfolding between O'Brien and former Tonight Show host Jay Leno says about NBC and its agreed joint venture with Comcast. If nothing else, the lack of replacement programming for the slot Leno is vacating, and the purported profitability NBC still enjoyed by having a cheaper, single-star variety show in a traditionally pricey prime-time slot, raise an obvious question -- why the rush?
John Hudson at the AtlanticWire does a nice job of collecting some thoughts on pressure that was probably building from Comcast, from angry affiliates who wanted Leno and his show's crummy ratings out of that vital pre-news slot, to improving PR.
What's that? Jay Leno is moving to prime-time? You don't say!
Frankly, it's hard to remember the last time there was such hubbub about a TV show. It was, after all, the cover story in Time magazine. Not to be outdone, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, AP, and probably every local news outlet between New York and Hollywood had a story about the talk show host -- more often than not raising the question of whether he's going to save network TV.
(You've got to give it to the public-relations machine on this one. They really worked the story. Of course, their spinning was augmented by a huge marketing effort. Stuart Elliott of the New York Times today estimated that NBC put out more than $10 million in promoting the show).
A year ago, the big story around Emmy nominations was the acclaim showered on cable programs like "Mad Men" and "Damages." A quick glance at today's nominations indicates little has changed.
Just look at the best drama category, where Fox's "House" and ABC's "Lost" will face stiff competition from cable's "Big Love" (HBO), "Mad Men" (AMC), "Damages" (FX), and "Breaking Bad" (AMC).
The first contestant got voted off reality television show “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” on Thursday night, and (shock) it wasn’t Spencer and Heidi Pratt. All week long, speculation in celebrity media reports has been about whether they would be allowed to return to the TV contest show after seeming to walk off in a huff on Monday’s show and head back to Hollywood.
For those who don’t know, on “I’m a Celebrity,” B-list stars compete in challenges like eating bugs to see who can survive a battle of willpower in a Coast Rican jungle.
(Writing and reporting by Laura Isensee) Speidi’s on-again, off-again affair with reality television show “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me out of Here!” has kept celebrity watchers guessing whether the newlyweds have quit the show or is their walkaway from the celeb reality show just a big publicity stunt.
There’s no such thing as bad publicity, as they say in showbiz (see Sacha Baron Cohen and his MTV stunt with Eminem), and this back-and-forth is creating buzz for the NBC show, where Hollywood D-listers like “American Idol” contestant Sanjaya Malakar and born again Christian Stephen Baldwin battle for survival — and a return to fame — in a Costa Rican jungle.