By George Lang •
Modified: January 19, 2010 at 4:38 am •
Published: January 19, 2010
/articleid/3432935/1/pictures/824761"> In this Aug. 5, 2009 file photo, Jay Leno speaks during the panel for "The Jay Leno Show" at the NBC Universal Television Critics Association summer press tour in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, file)
When Leno wanted to stay on the air despite turning over "Tonight” to O’Brien, NBC obliterated five hours of its prime time budget to give him his cheap chuckle hour. That’s K2. When that didn’t work out, they offered to push "Tonight” into the next day in some time zones. That’s Everest.
The likely end result is that NBC will be, in the spirit of its ever-increasing love of cheap unscripted television, "The Biggest Loser.” The network might have to pay a large settlement to O’Brien, and even if network executives breathe sighs of relief as Leno is returned to "Tonight,” they will have tarnished the show’s platinum brand, and Leno will forever be seen as having thrown his weight around.
"Today” co-host Matt Lauer had better watch himself. Leno might decide that waking up in the morning just isn’t right without a camera trained on him.