Hey, Jeff Zucker. Congratulations on pulling a Jason Mesnick from The Bachelor (for the highbrows, this is a John Kerry 2004 reference). Yes, over at NBC, they’re spreading a flippity-floppity flu. One day they like Jay… the next day, they like Conan. Oh wait, back to Jay. Conan. Jay. Conan. Jota. Conando. Pretty soon, neither Jay nor Conan will want to fight this middle-school battle anymore, and The Tonight Show will end up in the hands of Carson Daly and a host of former VJs from TRL. Hey, you can’t lose ratings if you ain’t got none. With this kind of competition, at least Letterman can start banging staff members again.
The Jay-Conan-Jeff Zucker love triangle has become such a big story that Maureen Dowd chose to write about it instead of bashing on Sarah Palin’s Fox News debut. Dowd giving up a swing at Palin? That’s like Mark McGwire going to bat without juice. It almost never happens.
But now that Zucker’s pissed off Maureen Dowd and almost everyone at NBC, he needs to fill the 10pm time slot. His two main competitors have already developed their niche audiences (ABC’s programming is family-centric, CBS’s is murder-centric). Given that there is only so much crap being produced in Hollywood, how can Zucker complement his 8-9pm crap with more terrible programming at 10pm? What should follow the surefire-disaster that will be Parenthood on Monday nights?
If NBC can’t do family or murder, what’s left?
The answer? Idiots and socialites.
Look at the success of Jersey Shore and its own sticky Situation. Look at how many people watch the vapid Real Housewives franchise on Bravo. Yes, these shows can’t carry on the legacy of classy NBC shows like E.R., but perhaps they can bring in ratings. And in this capitalist little game of TV broadcasting, ratings will bring in prestige, money, and as many staff members as Dave can handle.
Without ratings and the shows to back them up… well, then, NBC is just a fancy distribution company. Called Comcast.