Tuesday, January 26, 2010

VERITAS: PUNT - LENO FINALLY SPEAKS


Not sure if Jay Leno is a regular Touchdown and Fumbles reader, but this week he finally acted on the advice I offered LAST week, which was to make some kind of statement expressing his empathy for Conan O’Brien and everyone else caught in the NBC late night debacle. On Monday, Leno walked his audience through his take on the sequence of events, at one point saying “Don't blame Conan O'Brien. Nice guy, good family guy, great guy. He and I have talked and not a problem since then. That's what managers and people do, they try to get something for their clients.” Leno later noted that he doesn’t have an agent or a manager – he’s a “handshake agreement” guy. He also went to lengths to send two key messages: he was as much a victim of NBC’s decisions as O’Brien ( with Leno claiming he told them that moving him to prime time wouldn’t work), and that he was really concerned about what would happen to his show’s staff. Leno’s remarks contained all the right things, but I don’t know … because it was so long in coming, it just seemed to smack of being self-serving, especially in the wake of so many attacks against him (witness David Letterman’s ongoing barrage, and this week’s broadside from Rosie O’Donnell). O’Brien may not have gotten the ratings (up 50% since all this started, ironically), but he continues to win the battle for public support.

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