If you watched Jay Leno’s final Tonight Show on Friday night, you were probably disappointed to find out it was basically the boring, light-on-emotion nonevent we predicted (we fell asleep before Kevin Eubanks revealed himself as the Terminator, though). Sure, he teared up a little — but could he have simply been all cried out? Maybe! According to the Daily Beast’s Kim Masters, he’s disappointed in himself for being talked into NBC’s 10 p.m. hour, and though he was originally led to believe the deal was for something resembling his usual show, Leno, famously change-averse, is now realizing he’ll have to make quite a few alterations.
Among them: Apparently he won’t able to interview as many guests as before, since he and Conan will be competing for the same L.A.-based celebrities, so NBC is pushing for more sketch material. More important, though, is that the last few minutes of the show can no longer be wasted on a dull band or stand-up comedian. Since local affiliates (some of whom are already upset about Leno at 10) are demanding as strong a lead-in as possible he’ll have to divide the more boring segments throughout the hour and save some of his best material for the ending.
But what is Leno’s best material? Will he split his monologue in two and deliver the second half in the last ten minutes? Perhaps every episode will end with Jaywalking? Oh, and possibly adding to the pressure on Leno is the fact that, as today’s Times points out, if this should all fail, Ben Silverman will be left scrambling to fill FIVE HOURS OF PRIME TIME. So if NBC doesn’t call in the Dancing Itos, we’re pretty much all screwed.