Friday, January 15, 2010


I picked the wrong month to skip blogging about showbiz, judging by the interest in this Tonight Show decision. I don't have a lot of time even now, but I want to suggest that nobody made a boneheaded decision here, it's just that NBC took a gamble that didn't pay off. You might argue that they shouldn't be gambling in such a high-stakes game; but the truth is network TV is rapidly becoming the penny slots of the entertainment world.

In fact, I think a good way to see the future of network TV is by looking at the past: check out episodes of Suspense, the long-running CBS radio show. Suspense premiered in 1940, hit it's stride around 1951-1954, and then kept going all the way until 1962, long after the rest of radio drama had taken it's ball and gone home. Those last episodes boast 15-minute running times, reused scripts and guest stars that you've never heard of. They're cheap cheap cheap, and the commercials are all either PSAs or ads for old people's medications. What was sucking away the audience from Suspense? Network TV.

Anyway, don't worry about who is hosting the Tonight Show. They'll probably offer the job to YOU in two years time.

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