“What the.. ?” of the Day: Who is NBC’s Dick Ebersol kidding?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hi. According to an article by Lisa de Moraes in this morning’s New York Times, Dick Ebersol, Chairman of NBC Sports, believes that the mess NBC has created in its 10 PM through 12:35 AM time slots is the result of “an astounding [ratings] failure by Conan” on the Tonight Show. (I think I deserve points for not making any of the obvious jokes involving Mr. Ebersol’s first name. Thank you. Thank you very much.)

Mr. Ebersol’s conclusion is tantamount to suggesting, let’s say to the police, that they follow someone by driving in front of them. There are two reasons why Conan’s ratings aren’t yet what they will be eventually. The first is that his particular brand of fresh, innovative comedy is somewhat of an acquired taste. Jay is “old school” by comparison. Conan has only had the show for 7 months. Give him time. He’ll build the audience NBC wants and desperately needs.

The other reason for Conan’s current ratings is the poor lead that NBC has delivered from the debacle which is the Jay Leno show at 10 PM. It’s not Jay’s fault, per se. It was a bad programming choice by network management. Blaming Conan for it is ridiculous, and Ebersol should get back to trying to save some of the $200 million NBC Sports is forecast to lose on this year’s Winter Olympics.

Conan’s Tonight Show is in it’s infancy alright, but it’s not the reason affiliates are screaming about their 11:00 PM local news shows losing up to 50% of their audience since NBC but Jay Leno on 5 nights a week at 10 PM. No, Dick, it’s the other way around. Local news viewership is down because of weak, however profitable, but weak 10 PM programming, and The Tonight Show’s ratings are suffering for the same reason.

Note to NBC senior management: It’s not Conan. It’s not even Jay. It’s your genius programming management that’s the problem and needs to be replaced.

Not to worry. Conan has put The Tonight Show up for sale on Craig’s List. I say we all chip in, buy the show, and leave it right where it is.

4 SALE: BARELY-USED LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW-MAKE ME AN OFFER!!! (Universal Studios)

This is a chance of a lifetime to own your very own late night talk show — guaranteed to last for up to seven months!! Really must see to appreciate!”

Information for potential buyers:

Measures 100′ x 100′ x 32′ — plenty of room for a futon.

Designed for 11:35, but can be easily moved.

Band can be sold separately.

Buyer must honor Barry Manilow booking next Thursday.

MAKE YOUR BEST OFFER!!!!!  (Also willing to trade for Coldplay tickets.)

-wf


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