Monday, March 29, 2010

Breaking non-news: Conan won't host the Tonys

When it comes to Conan O'Brien, there seem to be more stories about what he might do than what he actually is doing. Recently, for instance, there was a spate of stories announcing that his tour may be filmed for a documentary.

The latest Coco nonstory: O'Brien might host the Tony Awards on CBS in June! Deadline Hollywood announced that Conan had been invited to return to New York and celebrate Broadway's finest work. However, the excitement quickly died down when O'Brien's team stated that such a high profile TV gig was not allowed under the terms of his severance with NBC. "I am of the understanding that he can't do that kind of thing until September," said an unnamed Team Coco insider.

In this theater fan's opinion, a Conan-hosted Tonycast would take the spotlight off the hard-working Broadway actors, directors and playwrights -- and even if the show got higher-than-usual ratings, it wouldn't be worth it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Craig Ferguson: "Don't ever rope me in as a late-night talk show host"

Craig Ferguson is the late night talk show host who doesn't want to be called a late night talk show host.

Discussing the recent late night wars, he told Reuters that as he "watched that, whatever that was, unfold, I realized that I am not part of this -- I am not part of the late-night clubhouse. Don't ever rope me in as a late-night talk show host. I don't want to be one."

For one thing, why do all of the hosts wear suits and ties?
Ferguson doesn't understand that particular convention, saying, "one of them that's really been bugging my ass right now is why do I ... dress like a mortician?"

[For the first few years of his show, fellow host Jimmy Kimmel shunned the tie, but he eventually succumbed. Anyone who's ever seen Kimmel in person can attest to the fact that he makes up for it by dressing super-sloppy in his off hours. Craig seems to be a little more put together offstage.]

And don't talk to Craig about replacing David Letterman at 11:30 if Dave should retire.
"I neither care nor have any ambition about that," Ferguson said. "The thing is, Dave's doing a great job and he does what he does. I don't do what David Letterman does.

"Look at the terrible thing that happened to Conan when Conan tried to do what Jay Leno does. Conan shouldn't do that. He doesn't do what Jay Leno does. Jay Leno does what Jay Leno does. And then when (Conan) started doing what Conan does, it was too late."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Conan: Is Fox pressing affiliates to clear the 11 PM time slot? is reporting that the Fox network is "applying pressure" on affiliates to put Conan O'Brien on the air between 11 and midnight, an hour when most of them are showing lucrative sitcom reruns.

"It's the clearest sign so far that Conan is going to Fox," writes TMZ. "Our sources say Fox execs and Conan's reps have been 'seriously talking,' though no deal has been made... And we've learned execs at several major Fox affiliates are saying a deal is 'imminent.'"

Hopefully, the Fox affils will be happier than NBC stations were when the 10 PM Jay Leno show was announced last year. Boston's WHDH famously declared that it would not run Leno in prime time, until NBC threatened to strip its network affiliation and the station capitulated. has reported that syndicators have also been courting Conan, although "O'Brien seems to have his heart set on trying to stay in the late-night network TV game." In any event, it looks like Conan will have a few options to choose from after he's done with his tour.

Late Night Ratings: Median "Tonight" viewer age goes way up

Team Coco faithful can declare "I told you so": the median age of people watching "The Tonight Show" has gone up. Way up.

NBC spinmeisters frequently touted the relative youthfulness of Conan's audience. However, last week, the median age of David Letterman's viewers (54.4) was over a year younger than the median age of Leno watchers (55.9).

Here are the numbers for last week's (March 8-12) shows (total viewership):
NBC “Tonight,” 4.4 million viewers
CBS “Late Show,” 3.8 million viewers
ABC “Nightline,” 3.7 million viewers

Here are the numbers from March 1-5, Leno's first week back:
NBC “Tonight,” 5.6 million viewers
CBS “Late Show,” 3.7 million viewers
ABC “Nightline,” 3.6 million viewers

During Leno's first week back on "Tonight," Jay averaged 1.949 million adults 18-49, vs. 1.305 for Dave. In adults 18-34, Jay’s 721,000 topped Letterman’s 488,000.

During the week of March 8-12, Jay averaged 1.546 million adults 18-49, vs. 1.348 for Dave. In adults 18-34, Jay’s 580,000 topped Letterman’s 442,000.

Looks like Jay got an expected bump from his first week back and highly touted visits from Olympians. Maybe all of those missing viewers are watching cable, TiVo, or just going to bed earlier.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel discuss the late night wars

CBS has released a preview of tonight's "Late Show with David Letterman" featuring guest Jimmy Kimmel. The two hosts chat about Jay Leno (thanks to TV MoJoe for the tip). Here's a sample of their repartee:

David Letterman: Boy, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your participation in the Jay Leno scandal. That was--

Jimmy Kimmel: Oh, thank you. And I do want to say to you, thanks for inviting me to your Super Bowl party.

DL: We didn't have enough room. Oprah had final say on the guest list. It was interesting, I've known Jay a long, long time, and it just got to be fun. It really got to be a lot of fun.

JK: It did. I would like to keep it going. We had him, we were drowning him, and you threw him a life saver during the Super Bowl.

DL: I think we can still fire it up. You did an entire show as Jay.

JK: I did. It's fun to be Jay. It's easier. You should try it. But Jay, I dressed up as Jay.

DL: You guys are friends.

JK: We're very close (laughs). During the strike, we spoke on the phone. He would call and give me advice and I would agree with it or whatever. I imitated him, I dressed up, I had the chin. He called me the next day... Jay said, "It's in the news, it's funny, it's funny"... I felt relieved that he thought it was funny and then an hour later they called and asked me to do his show.

DL: You went on and did the 10 at 10.

JK: He asked me 10 questions about nothing and I asked him 10 questions about stealing Conan's job from him. I did not get a call the next day.

DL: What I loved about it, it was fun, it was funny and nobody got hurt. The only people that got hurt were NBC. They lost hundreds of millions of dollars. We don't care about NBC. Jay didn't get hurt, you didn't get hurt, Conan didn't get hurt, I certainly didn't get hurt, and it was just a lot of fun.

JK: I think Conan might disagree. I don't think Jay was happy because he went on the Oprah show and said I sucker punched him. He's always running to tattle to Oprah whenever something happens. I didn't feel like I did sucker punch him, but then I looked it up in the dictinary and it turns out I did.

DL: This is what it used to be when we would all be at the Comedy Store and we were all insulting and attacking one another. We couldn't have had a better time at it. To me, that's what it was reminiscent of. It was a great deal of fun.

Raj Patel: He is not the Messiah, do you understand?

Surely one of the oddest things to turn up on a talk show in recent memory was Stephen Colbert's segment last night on author Raj Patel, whose January appearance on "The Colbert Report" managed to get him the ultimate "Colbert Bump" -- a New Age religious sect declared Patel the messiah.

As Colbert explained it, the sect, Share International, had a very specific set of requirements for its new messiah, who is known as Maitreya: born in 1972, traveled from India to London in 1977, dark-skinned, speaks with a stutter. When Patel appeared on "TCR" to plug his book, The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, "it was the final sign," according to a New York Times report on Patel's "godliness." The author "removed the contact information from his Web site, but dozens of pages, discussion groups and videos have emerged online proclaiming his holiness."

As Patel told Stephen last night, he emphatically denies being the messiah. Of course, according to a Share spokesperson, "Maitreya will neither confirm, or will fail to confirm, he is Maitreya." So Patel is living the life of Brian, as in the Monty Python movie: "Only the true Messiah denies His divinity."

Patel, incidentally, now lives in San Francisco. As a Bay Area resident myself, I can attest to the fact that those of us who live here are convinced we're in the center of the universe, so it makes perfect sense that the Messiah would choose to reside here. (Just kidding, Raj!)

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Late Night Ratings: Leno back on top

Back in May 2009, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" was watched by an average of 5.006 million people, vs. 3.729 million "Late Show with David Letterman" viewers. Have things already returned to the status quo? Here are the ratings for the week of March 8-12 1-5, according to NBC:

NBC “Tonight,” 5.6 million viewers
CBS “Late Show,” 3.7 million viewers
ABC “Nightline,” 3.6 million viewers

In May 2009, the breakdown among adults 18-49 was 1.845 million for Jay vs. 1.334 million for Dave. In adults 18-34, there were 697,000 "Tonight Show" viewers, while 545,000 young folks tuned into "Late Show."

During Leno's first week back on "Tonight," Jay averaged 1.949 million adults 18-49, vs. 1.305 for Dave. In adults 18-34, Jay’s 721,000 topped Letterman’s 488,000.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jimmy Kimmel's new work week: Monday-Thursday

I thought perhaps "Jimmy Kimmel Live" had aired on Mondays during the past two weeks to capitalize on ABC's "Bachelor" finale and the momentum from his "After the Academy Awards" special, but it turns out Kimmel's move is permanent. The show will continue producing four new episodes a week, but now they'll air Monday-Thursday instead of Tuesday-Friday, according to Broadcasting & Cable.

"[N]etwork and show insiders say the move was done to capitalize on synergies and promotional opportunities with ABC's Monday-night lineup, which includes reality hits like 'Dancing With the Stars,' 'The Bachelor' and 'The Bachelorette,'" reports B&C. "Castoffs and stars from ABC reality shows are mainstays on Kimmel's show, so the hope is to add late-night audience through primetime promotion on Mondays."

One of Kimmel's most popular bits, "This Week in Unnecessary Censorship," will now be seen on Thursdays.

The article also notes that ABC is mulling a Kimmel prime time special pegged to the "Lost" series finale; the host is a big fan of the show and frequently mentions it during his monologue.

"JKL" will be airing reruns all week next week, but Kimmel will be making an appearance on "Late Show with David Letterman" on Tuesday the 16th.

Conan O'Brien 30-city tour kicks off April 12 is live. On it, you'll find a list of dates for Conan O'Brien's "The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television" tour, which will start in Eugene, OR's Hult Center For the Performing Arts on April 12 and wind up in Atlanta, GA on June 14. The 30-city tour will feature "a night of music, comedy, hugging, and the occasional awkward silence," and team Conan with Andy Richter and several of his band members (not Max Weinberg, however).

Josef Adalian of The Wrap points out that Coco's L.A. date, April 24, will take place at the Gibson Ampitheater in Universal City -- "mere feet away from his onetime 'Tonight Show' home on the NBC-owned Universal lot." And his June 1 New York gig will be at Radio City Music Hall, "located right in the center of NBC's 30 Rock corporate headquarters."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

David Letterman Extortion Case: Blackmailer Going to Jail

Looks like the saga of the David Letterman blackmail scandal might be reaching its final chapter. Accused extorter Robert "Joe" Halderman is expected to plead guilty to second-degree larceny, which will send him to jail for six months. (That could be knocked down to four months if he gets some time off for good behavior.)

Halderman "will also serve four and a half years probation and must perform 1,000 hours of community service," according to the New York Times.

Gerard Shargel, Halderman's attorney, had stated that "I look forward to that time when I will cross examine David Letterman." Looks like he won't get his chance. Neither Shargel nor Letterman's spokesman had an immediate comment.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Jimmy Kimmel: His latest viral video

Did you miss Jimmy Kimmel's latest post-Oscar video clip? This year, he rounded up some of the hottest hunks in Hollywood, including Rob Lowe and Matthew McConaughey, and made them members of the Handsome Men's Club:

The entire "After the Academy Awards" show will be repeated this Friday night.

Conan O'Brien tour: "There will be an announcement this week"

There was a flurry of excitement in Phoenix late last week when reported that Conan O'Brien would kick off his rumored tour with an April 30 show at the Dodge Theatre. However, the Arizona show has mysteriously disappeared from Ticketmaster's web site, and the company states that they have "no record of that show." As for the Dodge, a representative told Movieline that they had "no knowledge of the event" or "any knowledge of Ticketmaster’s claim that the event ever existed."

Here's the official word from Conan's publicists, 42West: "It’s too premature to comment on anything at this point. There will be an announcement this week."

At least Cocophiles can keep up with O'Brien through his funny Twitter feed. The latest: "If I had a show, I'd tweet about which Oscar winner is coming on tonight. Instead, here's my favorite frozen vegetable: Peas!"

Friday, March 5, 2010

Late Night Ratings: Audiences continue to welcome back Jay

Four nights, four victories for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Here are some stats on last night's Fast Nationals:

“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (1.5 rating in adults 18-49) led the time period over CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman” (1.1) and ABC’s “Nightline (1.1) in fast national “live plus same day” ratings from Nielsen Media Research. The “Tonight” margin over “Late Show” in fast-national adult 18-49 rating is 36 percent.

Thursday’s “Tonight” matched its Wednesday rating in adults 18-49 (1.5) and finished within a tenth of a point of its Monday and Tuesday result (1.6 each night in fast nationals).

In total viewers in the fast nationals, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (5.1 million) ranked #1 among the major networks in the time period over “Late Show” (3.9 million) and “Nightline” (3.6 million). The “Tonight” margin over “Late Show” in total viewers in these fast-national results is 29 percent.

I promise now that I'll lay off the ratings until late next week, when all of the networks will weigh in with their final numbers and bits of spin.

Meet Don Reed, "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" warm-up comic

photoIf you think you have a tough commute, listen to this: every Friday, Don Reed warms up the crowd for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in Burbank, and then hops a plane home to the San Francisco Bay Area to perform his acclaimed one-man show, "East 14th: Tales of a Reluctant Player." The autobiographical show has been a huge hit for Reed; after a nine-month run at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco, where it played to sold-out crowds, the Marsh chose "East 14th" to open its brand-new performance space across the bay in Berkeley. It starts a new run tonight (March 5) at 9 PM and is scheduled to play through March 28; you can check the dates and buy tickets here. View some video clips of Don on his web site. And if you want to see him pump up the crowds each weekday before Leno takes the stage, here's the link for "Tonight Show" tickets.

Don was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to chat via email with Talk Show News. I caught the show in San Francisco, and it's hilarious and touching, telling the true story of a boy who lives with his devout, God-fearing mom and stepdad, but is fascinated by his father's exotic life, which is filled with wild parties, beautiful women and crazy characters. Turns out Dad is a pimp, which innocent young Don didn't pick up on: "I thought he was just really into hats." Reed plays every role, displaying amazing skills of mimickry. The East Bay Express newspaper called "East 14th" one of the 10 best shows of 2009, praising the actor's "rubber-band body, elegant disco dance moves, and acute comic timing."

Reed also served as the warm-up guy for "The Jay Leno Show," and followed the host back to "Tonight."

What's it been like working for Leno during the media firestorm that was Late Night Wars 2010?

I was an ad/promo producer at NBC back in '98 to 2000 and had heard Jay was a great guy. He was not my boss. He had no power over my position whatsoever -- and I really, really liked him. Then I started working with him directly as the warmup comedian and found he was even nicer than I'd heard, devoid of ego. I've never worked with anyone in the entire industry with that level of succe$$ and they were that sound and grounded. It truly befuddles me how some of the public got it mixed up and think he had anything whatsoever to do with the circus style that things turned out. But, he's back where he belongs and the show is hotter than ever. He allows me to bolt out on Fridays RIGHT at 5pm in time to make it to the Marsh Berkeley for a 9pm show.

[Incidentally, Reed claims he's only missed his 9 PM Friday curtain time once.]

How did you get the job as Jay's warm-up guy? Is this your first time doing a job like this on a talk show?

It was pretty tough -- a lot, lot, lot, lot, lot, lot of comics would jump off several buildings to get this gig. It's a dreaaam job. It's right in the hot seat of THE biggest stars from film, TV, sports, publishing, music -- you name it. I've been involved in audience warmup for over 2 decades. I've done it for everything from "Girlfriends" to "That 70's Show, " "Frasier" to "Blossom," "Malcolm & Eddie" to "Golden Girls" -- urban shows -- mainstream shows -- I've probably done it. It's a well paid position, but it's waaay harder than it looks. There's an art to it really -- that's why not just any comic can walk up and start doing it. It's a fine mixture of being great -- but really, genuinely making it about the show you're setting up.

Will we ever see you on the air, in a sketch or doing a comedy segment?

There have been a few hints in that direction -- but I'm in no hurry. This, in my mind, is a far better job than really hot road comics have to endure. No matter how famous, they have to switch cities, hotel rooms, planes, taxis and MISS THEIR FAMILIES! If you don't have one -- then awesome. But if you do -- it's heartbreaking. I did the college circuit for 5 years straight -- over 400 colleges -- performed in every state in the country (except North Dakota... hmm?) -- but I wasn't home, ya know. This allows me to do stand-up every single day and stay in town. Presently I ONLY fly to the Bay Area to perform. 45 minutes away. I absolutely, truly love that... well... Until I'm back here and my mother starts trying to tell me what to do.

Have you been able to do "East 14th" in L.A.? Do you think you'll be taking it to other cities after the Marsh run ends?

Yes, the show ran in Los Angeles for 5 months -- got recognition and played Off Broadway the entire summer of 2008. I was just driving this morning thinking, "Maybe I should just do ONE big show in LA a month." One show because LA is a movie-tv show town. It's nowhere near as linked and channeled into the power and magic of theatre like the Bay Area. Not even close.

What's it been like to perform the show in the East Bay?

The Marsh audience is very, very diverse, as are San Francisco and Berkeley. I am seeing a lot more East Bay people though -- simply because it's right there. The laughter is just as loud -- however, the room seats more people, so perhaps it's even louder. Honestly, I'm too locked into the characters to really distinguish the difference. All kinds of people come -- turns out the story of a young teen pressured to be in that ultra strict religion where they knock on your door at 7 o'clock in the morning -- only to move in with his real dad and discover he's a pimp is a universal story. A fish waaaay outta water story.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Samantha Bee's first book due in June

samantha bee book"The Daily Show" correspondent Samantha Bee has been a hilarious presence on the program since 2003, and now she's an author, too: her debut book, I Know I Am, But What Are You?, will be published in June.

According to the publisher, in the book, Bee "opens up for the very first time about her checkered Canadian past. With charming candor, she admits to her Lennie from Of Mice and Men-style love of baby animals, her teenage crime spree as one-half of a car-thieving couple (Bonnie and Clyde in Bermuda shorts and braces), and the fact that strangers seem compelled to show her their genitals. She also details her intriguing career history, which includes stints working in a frame store, at a penis clinic, and as a Japanese anime character in a touring children’s show.

"Samantha delves into all these topics and many more in this thoroughly hilarious, unabashedly frank collection of personal essays. Whether detailing the creepiness that ensues when strangers assume that your mom is your lesbian lover, or recalling her girlhood crush on Jesus (who looked like Kris Kristofferson and sang like Kenny Loggins), Samantha turns the spotlight on her own imperfect yet highly entertaining life as relentlessly as she skewers hapless interview subjects on 'The Daily Show.' She shares her unique point of view on a variety of subjects as wide ranging as her deep affinity for old people, to her hatred of hot ham. It’s all here, in irresistible prose that will leave you in stitches and eager for more."

Bee is, of course, married to fellow correspondent Jason Jones. They have two children, Piper and Fletcher. It was recently announced that Jones will be starring in an ABC sitcom pilot called "How to Be a Better American" -- despite the fact that, like Bee, he's Canadian too.

In case you missed it, here's Sam's interview with Jonah Falcon, the man with the world's largest penis:

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The new "Daily Show" book takes a look at Earth

photoA report about the coming trade fair Book Expo America contains a bit of a scoop: the first official confirmation of the title of the new book from Jon Stewart and the staff of "The Daily Show." Here it is: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race. (USA Today revealed last fall that Earth [The Book] was the working title.) It is, of course, the sequel to the best-selling America (The Book).

Stewart will be the Master of Ceremonies for the Book and Author Breakfast at Book Expo on May 27, where he will introduce Condoleezza Rice (promoting Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family), superstar novelist John Grisham, and Mary Roach (Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void). Stewart performed those duties at Book Expo in 2004; the program was shown on C-Span, so hopefully this one will be as well.

Earth (The Book) will be published in the fall. It is now available for pre-order from, in three different formats: hardcover, Kindle and audio book.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

David Letterman: Vanity Fair profile on the scandal that "rocked CBS"

Pour yourselves a tall cool one, Talk Show News readers, and set aside some time to read Vanity Fair's new six-page article about David Letterman. The article promises to explore "the explosive triangle—(Stephanie) Birkitt’s ambition, (Joe) Halderman’s bitterness, and Letterman’s self-loathing—that rocked CBS," and pretty much succeeds. It's a juicy read.

Reporter Mark Seal sets the scene with Halderman spotting Letterman, in his "$100,000 electric Tesla sports car," dropping off Birkitt at the home she shared with the "48 Hours Mystery" producer. "From where he stands, [Halderman] can see them 'in the car in a passionate embrace, and the way Joe interpreted it was: We just had hot sex and we’re going to do it again as soon as we possibly can,'" a friend of the producer, Bob Arnot, told Seal. "Now, here’s Letterman in a hundred-thousand-dollar car, and—the ultimate insult—he’s stealing Joe Halderman’s girl!"

The article delves into Halderman's problems -- he was upset about the fact that his ex-wife had moved with their 11-year-old to Colorado, a development that sent him "reeling" -- as well as recapping Letterman's romantic life, from his ill-fated first marriage to his longtime affair with Merrill Markoe and subsequent relationship with Regina Lasko. The always-hilarious Markoe reveals that during the last two years of their relationship, Dave was cheating on her with Lasko. "I, like Tiger Woods’s wife, was under the impression that my flawless Scandinavian supermodel good looks were enough to keep a man at home," quipped Markoe, explaining why she hadn't suspected that Letterman was cheating on her.

Why have so many women been drawn to Dave? "I've come in contact with countless celebrities, and only two emit a tangible, almost magnetic force, an electricity that draws you to them: David Letterman and Bill Clinton," said Madeleine Smithberg, a former Letterman segment producer who went on to co-create "The Daily Show" and Current TV's "Infomania." "I would be in my office with my back to the door. Suddenly, I would notice that the hair on my arms and neck would be standing on end. I’d turn around and there would be Dave, standing in my doorway. The man is electric! I was there for six years. You want to be with him; you want to be close to him. And when you are, you feel good. It’s like you’re basking in the buzz of Dave."

Halderman will learn his trial date next Tuesday. If found guilty, he faces up to 15 years in prison. As for Birkitt, she's keeping an ultra-low profile, on a paid leave of absence from "Late Show."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

No more "Daily Show," "Colbert Report" on Hulu

According to the New York Times, Viacom has decided to pull Comedy Central's "Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" from Hulu.

"The Daily Show" is currently the third most popular show on the site. "TDS" and "Colbert" have been available on the site since mid-2008.

In a blog post, Hulu senior VP Andy Forssell wrote, "The team at Comedy Central have been great partners for us, and our users have been extremely vocal and passionate about how much they love what the Comedy Central folks are doing."

People who want to watch the shows without paying for cable still have an option, though: and -- which are both under Viacom's direct control -- will continue making episodes and clips available for free.

Late night audience welcomes Jay back; critics, not so much

Sorry, Team Coco: Jay Leno got huge ratings on his first night back on the rebooted "Tonight."

According to the just-updated "Fast Nationals" ratings, "In total viewers... 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' (6.6 million) ranked #1 among the major networks in the time period over 'Late Show' (3.8 million) and 'Nightline' (4.1 million). The 'Tonight' margin over 'Late Show' in total viewers in these fast-national results is 73 percent."

Leno was twice as popular as Dave in the 18-49 demographic.

Of course, 18 million viewers tuned in to watch Jay's first prime time show back in September, and Conan's first-night ratings were boffo, too -- in fact, Leno's numbers last night were down 24% from the first "Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" -- so I'm sure NBC won't be too quick to crown Jay "the new/old king of late night."

Not surprisingly, the critics -- many of them the same folks who declared "The Jay Leno Show" the worst program of 2009 -- had their knives sharpened. USA Today's Robert Bianco called Jay's monologue "tired, lame and unfunny. In other words, typical of the real Leno, rather than the Leno of public-relations imagination."

Time's James Poniewozik said Jay's material was far from fresh. "A news item about Dick Cheney's heart problems led to a string of golden-oldie Bush jokes, as if the former President too had suddenly taken back his old job from the new guy."

The Chicago Tribune's Steve Johnson riffed on the Beatles song ("Get Back") that was used to promote the return of Leno to 11:35. "Monday night's uncomfortable retaking of late night's most celebrated throne, suggested different Beatles tunes: 'Fixing a Hole,' 'I Should Have Known Better,' and, in the host's unambitious, comfort-food hour, 'Let It Be'... this new effort had neither pop, nor sizzle, nor surprise, and no amount of cheerleading from unconvincingly hyper first guest Jamie Foxx could make it seem otherwise."

And, piling on, perennial Leno foe Howard Stern told CBS' Harry Smith that "just the mere mention of Jay Leno's name makes me to want to vomit."

In case you missed the show's "Wizard of Oz" style cold open, here it is:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Jay Leno's Return: Party like it's 2005!

"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" has yet to air here in the Pacific Time Zone, but thanks to the good folks at, his monologue jokes are already online. And there's nothing more hilarious and timely than jokes about George W. Bush: "President Bush said today that he often turned to prayer during his presidency. Hey, I think we all turned to prayer."

He did throw in some more of-the-moment Tiger Woods jokes:

Kind of sad. Gatorade has officially ended their relationship with Tiger Woods. Apparently he was seeing at least five other sports drinks.

Did you watch the press conference? As you know, Tiger Woods gave a press conference last week, where he said he is returning to Buddhism. As opposed to what he was practicing before. That was bootyism. That was totally different.
The New York Times, meanwhile, passes along a couple of David Letterman's jokes:
Thank you very much, welcome to the "Late Show," my name is Dave Letterman — same time, same host.

I want to tell you something, tonight is a rough night for my mom. She doesn’t know who to watch — Jimmy Kimmel or Jay.
I'll have a review roundup on Tuesday morning, and, of course, as soon as they become available, the all-important ratings!