The contract between viewers and late-night hosts can be an intimate one. Yet while we all like to be told bedtime stories, in the main, late-night television is very hit or miss. We watch and wait for the moment of serendipity when a single joke happens to define a moment or a banal interview takes an unexpected turn. But today, if magic happens, you don’t have to wait for the show to enjoy the moment.
Take the Thursday episode of “The Jay Leno Show,” for example. We all know that Mr. Leno has been using the show to land some haymakers on his NBC bosses, but the tables were turned during the “Ten @ Ten” segment that night, when Jimmy Kimmel responded to a question about his best prank: “I told a guy that five years from now, I’m going to give you my show, and then when the five years came, I gave it to him, and then I took it back almost instantly.”
Now that’s a funny comeuppance, but Twitter and various entertainment blogs were alive with references to the joke, and I didn’t have to sit through a bunch of shows to see it.
Columnist David Carr picks apart the Conan / Leno debacle by exploring it from the lens of how new forms of media consumption have actually created this mini-crisis for NBC. Excellent piece.