Jay Leno

Notes after a long break

OK, I'm finally back to blogging after an eight-day break. I recognize that this wasn't really in the spirit of a daily blog.

After doing blogs after each of the first 16 episodes of "The Jay Leno Show" (see previous blogs), I took it easy for a while, including some days in Cadillac, Mich. Here are a few thoughts:

1) Cadillac -- and all of Northern Michigan, I'd assume -- is spectacularly beautiful now. Catch the colors while you can.

Mo'Nique? Please, no mo'

Maybe I'm being a stickler about this, but it should be a rule: You really shouldn't start giving your Emmy speech (or your Lifetime Achievement speech) until you've actually done a show ... or at least part of a show ... or at least told one joke or sung one song or interviewed one person.

This feeling built inside me as I watched the dismal debut of "The Mo'Nique Show," which airs at 11 p.m. weekdays on BET.

Jay: Wrapping up (sort of)

OK, it's time for me to wrap up my Leno watch.

For its first three weeks, I've been dutifully watching each "Jay Leno Show" and offering an instant critique. (Please read the previous ones; also, please add your comments.) Now I'll end that.

OK, I'll still watch sometimes -- especially on Mondays, which include "Headlines," my favorite. And this Monday (Oct. 5), I'll follow up by watching and reviewing the debut of "The Mo'Nique Show," a daily talk show at 11 p.m. weekdays on BET.

Jay: Day 14

After just 14 days, "The Jay Leno Show" has broken a key promise.

The show had said it would end each hour with humor. Until tonight, it did. Some of the closing bits were great (including "Headlines" each Monday), some were lame, but all were comic.

Jay: Week 3, day 3

TV people keep groping for a way to use all those funny little things on the Internet.

Some have even tried to turn them into an entire show; one such venture, on the CW, drew an audience of approximately zero. But now it looks like "The Jay Leno Show" may be the ideal setting.

Jay: Day 12

Let's think of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a sort of pioneer. Tonight, she crossed the silly border into NBC's prime time.

In an absurd bit of pettiness, CBS and ABC reportedly told their stars not to be guests on the new "Jay Leno Show." This is especially absurd because the show:

-- Is little threat, finishing third each night in Nielsen ratings for its three-network time slot.

Jay: Week 3 begins

Let's be glad there are plenty of sinning politicians and celebrities in the world. "The Jay Leno Show" has an easy time finding laughs.

That was clear tonight, when Bill Maher argued that not all cheaters are equal; Gov. Mark Sanford, he argued, is a true romantic. To prove that, he juxtaposed portions of two E-mails -- the florid ones from Sanford and the crude ones from former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley. The result was sad, but terribly funny.

Jay: Day 9.5

When man perfected satellite communications, the potential was stunning. Suddenly, people in podunk could see  live images of an Olympian in Japan, a soldier in Iraq, a triumphant new president in South Africa.

And on Friday (Sept. 25), a satellite was employed so a man in Burbank could talk to a man outside a movie theater in Hollywood. At the most, it saved a $60 taxi ride.

Jay: On Day 9, he finally got it right

OK, this time there's no griping and sniping. Tonight -- on its ninth try -- "The Jay Leno Show" finally got it right.

 Admittedly, I missed a small section in the middle -- Rush Limbaugh on the race track and then the start of the Smokey Robinson, Joss Stone duet. (They are great talents, but didn't it seem a tad creepy the way Smokey, 69, kept leaning into Joss, 22?) What I saw, however, was terrific.

Jay: Middle of second week

Who was at that meeting, anyway?

Jay Leno must have said, "I'm sure there's nothing people want to see more in prime time than a celebrity driving around a race track." Network executives nodded and pulled out a pile of money to build a track next to his studio.

Maybe someone should have said this: "No, Jay, people don't want to see this. Just you. There's a good reason why primetime TV went its first 60 years without a racetrack. It's not interesting."