Yesterday, we wrote at length about some of the major issues we have with The Jay Leno Show, NBC’s recent cost-savings initiative that’s masquerading itself as a talk-variety show. Normally, we wouldn’t consider piling on the clearly struggling Leno on consecutive days, but then again, there’s a story in today’s Los Angeles Times written by Meg James that fans the anti-Leno flames considerably. While it’s been well-known for months that rival networks were going to be reticent to grant their stars permission to appear alongside the Chin in his move to prime time, James ups the ante a notch or two by labeling ABC and CBS’s stance on the matter an out-and-out “boycott.”
We certainly understand the rationale behind NBC competitors’ hesitancy to allow their big stars to appear on Leno’s show, the thought process of which goes a little something like this: If big stars from CBS or ABC appear on the program, that could conceivably work to propel Leno’s ratings to victory over their own network’s programming in the 10 p.m. slot (in the process, possibly sinking some of the shows these stars would’ve been promoting). However, we think there’s another group of people that should be EVEN MORE concerned about the interests of these television stars than the network suits. Namely, the agents of actors who actually appear on the show!
Take Julia Louis-Dreyfus, for example. She appeared on Leno’s show on Tuesday night in an effort to promote both her CBS show, The New Adventures of Old Christine, as well as her guest stint on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, making her the first (and so far, only) actor to break this boycott. As has become commonplace on Leno’s awful new show, Louis-Dreyfus was pushed by the Chin to do something humiliating as means of “earning her plug.” In her case, she was forced to endure five seconds of a scary tarantula crawling on her arm in order for Jay to show a five-second clip (literally!) from her CBS program. But because Louis-Dreyfus is a good corporate soldier, she also volunteered to wear a homemade New Adventures of Old Christine crown and to have a “Watch CBS” logo appear on her ass. Which leads us to ask, what kind of self-respecting agent of one of the biggest stars on television would allow their client to go through the ringer like this when there are plenty of other outlets to get the word out about her new projects? Ari Gold would never stand for shenanigans like this, that much is certain.
In case you don’t believe us, here’s the all-around-embarrassing clip:
So while the reasons that rival networks would want to boycott Leno make total sense to us, we would argue that stars of just about every ilk — and that includes NBC stars, too — should be strongly cautioned by their management teams about the blows to their reputation that they will have to endure when they decide to do an appearance alongside the Chin.