Late night TV shaken up by changing media habits

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.

Posted via web from jmproffitt

Nexus One: 20,000 / iPhone 3GS: 1,600,000

This is not good.

I love the iPhone, but it needs competition. While the Android series of phones are interesting, they still aren’t stacking up as serious competitors, either from a unit sales perspective or, more importantly, from a software perspective.

This is the difference between messianic vision for a product or service and simply throwing engineers and marketers into a room together.

When will someone give Apple a run for its money?

Posted via web from jmproffitt

Techdirt on the Cable TV vs. Internet battle

…both of these stories suggest a prime battleground for the next year: as the old TV businesses come to grips with the internet (finally). Just like other parts of the entertainment industry, it will be messy and annoying — and incumbent players are going to make a lot of really stupid mistakes. But, in the end, we should start to get some pretty cool stuff out of it — though, most likely not directly from the incumbent players, but from the upstarts and innovators on the margins.

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Obscene wastefulness at the TSA and DHS

It would make sense to fight the next battle, for once, instead of the last one. Sense, though, is not the criteria by which public money is spent in this country—and it hasn’t been for a long time.

Thank you, Anne Applebaum. We need more voices to fight the security theatrics put on by the DHS and TSA while they also spend billions on needless projects at the behest of members of Congress looking for quick reelection spending.

Posted via web from jmproffitt

Terrorists vs. flying vs. driving vs. food

…a risk-free flight has never existed; nor has a risk-free car trip; nor a risk-free ocean liner voyage; nor a risk-free bike ride. To be alive is to face risks.

And don’t get me started on cars vs. terrorist bombings. Ugh. 30,000 to 40,000 people die every year in automotive crashes in the U.S. But there’s no TSA for driving. And should we talk about food terrorists? The companies that produce products known — proven — to be bad for us, but there’s no regulations to stop them or even slow them down.

I’m far more likely to die prematurely in a car or via diet than in any terrorist attack.

Posted via web from jmproffitt

David Brooks: The God That Fails

All this money and technology seems to have reduced the risk of future attack. But, of course, the system is bound to fail sometimes. Reality is unpredictable, and no amount of computer technology is going to change that. Bureaucracies are always blind because they convert the rich flow of personalities and events into crude notations that can be filed and collated. Human institutions are always going to miss crucial clues because the information in the universe is infinite and events do not conform to algorithmic regularity.

Resilient societies have a level-headed understanding of the risks inherent in this kind of warfare.

But, of course, this is not how the country has reacted over the past week.

2010 is only a few days old, but this may end up being the most important David Brooks column this year.

Posted via web from jmproffitt