SO MUCH television, so little time:
* Jay Leno, no matter what you may have heard, will not be doing the "Tonight Show" at 10 p.m. five nights a week for NBC next fall.
Yes, he's doing a monologue on what's so far being called "The Jay Leno Show," and, yes, "I'll probably take headlines, people like that." And, OK, don't be surprised to see some kind of man-in-the-street feature.
But, hey, Conan O'Brien gets the desk, Leno told reporters yesterday.
The desk, it seems, belongs to "Tonight," and apparently that makes all the difference.
* Leno's slightly passive-aggressive response to being pushed out of the "Tonight Show" by Conan - in much the same way Leno pushed out Johnny Carson - seems to have paid off for both the workaholic comic and his network, whose head honcho, Jeff Zucker, was complaining only Monday about the burden of having to program 22 hours a week.
Five down, only 17 to go. Maybe they'll spin off "Knight Rider." Or give Leno a second show, in which he talks to his cars, and they talk back.
* Possibly the biggest surprise of Zucker's remarks to the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in Manhattan Monday, as recounted by the Hollywood Reporter, was that the NBC Universal chief actually considers the CW and MyNetworkTV competition, alluding to them as two of the three networks (the other being Fox, which owns MyNetworkTV) that don't feel the need to fill 22 hours a week.
Maybe he should complain instead about how easy they have it at Nickelodeon, which last Friday drew 8.1 million viewers for "Merry Christmas Drake & Josh" in a two-hour block where an NBC special and an original episode of "Lipstick Jungle" averaged less than half that.
Broadcasters other than CBS, which still does respectable numbers on Fridays with shows like "Numbers," would have us believe there's no one home that night, when what they really mean is that there's no one home who interests them.
That's why ABC long ago abandoned its "TGIF" programming as not sophisticated enough.
But will a generation brought up on Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel even know there are such things as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox when they hit that 18-34 demo?
* Leno could have gone to ABC, but said he decided to stay after considering the advice his parents had always given him: "Whatever you do in life, always try to come in fourth."
Leno, of course, has a million of 'em. Here's a sample from yesterday's press conference:
On wanting to work forever: "My mother's from Scotland, so we tend to die in the mines."
On the rumors: "There were reports that I was going to go to ABC, but that was started by a disgruntled employee - me."
On the 46-week schedule: "Eventually, there'll probably be some reruns. If I'm wounded, or attacked."
On the new time slot: "I'll be on after the last hour of the new 'Today' show."
On why he likes being an employee, rather than owning the show (the way CBS' David Letterman does): "I enjoy making love. I don't want to be a gynecologist."
* Some 10.2 million people tuned in for the final two hours of ABC's "Boston Legal" Monday night, and for the first time in a long time, I was one of them.
And after watching back-to-back episodes bizarre enough to make ABC's "Pushing Daisies" look like a documentary, I wasn't feeling as if I'd missed much.
Until, that is, the scene in which U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (Jack Shearer) pronounced Alan Shore (James Spader) and Denny Crane (William Shatner) "husband and husband," at which point I was left with only one question:
Are all these people on drugs?
* Speaking of drugs, it might be time for Jimmy Fallon to think about kicking caffeine.
Now that NBC's decided that late night is no country for old men, we finally got a look Monday night at what Fallon might do when he moves into Conan O'Brien's "Late Night" spot.
In the first posting at latenightwithjimmyfallon.com, the "Saturday Night Live" veteran seemed, well, jumpy, as he showed off the 30 Rockefeller Center studio he's inheriting from a local news operation and introduced his house band, Philly's own The Roots (the choice of which was reported by the Daily News' Dan Gross last month).
How jumpy? Well, not only does Fallon wave his arms - a lot - as he talks about getting ready for "Late Night's" March 2 debut, but he talks very, very fast.
As if, you know, he were actually trying to keep people up past their bedtimes. *
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