Tuesday, January 12, 2010



The bad news for Jay Leno came down this week: his 10 pm weeknight show will be canceled in February. NBC hopes to move him back to a half hour show at 11:30 pm and have Conan O'Brien do the 'Tonight' show starting at midnight. (But it may be that "Cousin" Conan will bolt the Peacock network over the slight and maybe go to FOX for a show that starts at 11 pm.)
I feel sorry for Jay Leno. He didn't ask for all of this to happen. NBC put the squeeze on him to relinquish the 'Tonight' show in 2009 a few years back so that they could hold on to Conan, thinking that his popularity would translate to an hour earlier. Then, when they realized it made them look bad to have done this to a man who was loyal to his network and was untiring in his pitching for them on all sorts of shows, NBC came up with this idea of a weeknight talk show at 10 pm for him. (I'm sure those suits - who deserve to be nibbled to death by ducks - also figured they'd save a lot of money with the show rather than spend a fortune on dramatic series.)

But then the squeeze came on for which dramatic series would survive with five fewer berths to fill; NBC let 'Southland' slip away to TNT because it was too intense for the nine o'clock hour; and NBC affiliates began to bitch about the slide in ratings leading in to their lucrative 11 pm news broadcasts. So now nobody's happy.

(Of course, Leno may be responsible for all of his bad karma - he created a lot of ill will during the writers' strike over a year ago by continuing with his monologues and by doing a crossover with Jimmy Kimmel's show on ABC in what appeared to be a show of solidarity and as a defiant stand against the strike.) At any rate, Toobworld Central has decided to do its part to bring a little joy in Jay Leno's life. And so the man known for his love of cars and for his freakishly big chin (He's often referred to as "lantern-jawed" in so many articles about him!) is the January 2010 inductee into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame - not only as the traditional Classic TV entrant, but also as a member of the League of Themselves.

Just take a gander at this line-up of credits in which Jay played himself:

- Drive (2009)

"The Comeback"
- Valerie Does Another Classic Leno (2005)

- Joey and the Tonight Show (2005)

"The Bernie Mac Show"
- Pink Gold (2003)

- My Own Private Practice Guy (2003)

"Just Shoot Me!"
- Liotta? Liotta! (2002)
- Secretary's Day (1997)

- The Pit (2001)

"The Chris Isaak Show"
- T&A (2001)

- Pilot (2000)

- Episode #1.332 (2000)

"The West Wing"
- 20 Hours in L.A. (2000)
[This is an alternate TV dimension version of Jay Leno.]

Y2K (1999) (TV)

- Valma and Louise (1999)
- Diamonds Are a Val's Best Friend (1998)

"Home Improvement"
- Home Alone (1999)
[Leno also appeared in an episode entitled "Brother, Can You Spare A Hot Rod?" He was named Jay in that but was a guy at an auto show who was keeping an eye of a bunch of cars. It could be he was one of those celeb-obsessed guys who undergo plastic surgery and take on a new persona to be more like their heroes - in this case, Jay Leno.....]

Jerry Seinfeld: 'I'm Telling You for the Last Time' (1998)

"Muppets Tonight"
- The Best of Muppets Tonight! (1997)
- The Cameo Show (1997)

"Veronica's Closet"
- Pilot (1997)
- Unaired Pilot
"Caroline in the City"
- Caroline and the Bad Trip (1997)

- Talk Show (1997)

"3rd Rock from the Sun"
- Dick Jokes (1996)

"The Nanny"
- The Taxman Cometh (1996)

- Go Girlz (1996)

- The Shower Head (1996)

- The Team Player (1996)

"Homicide: Life on the Street"
- Sniper: Parts 1 & 2 (1996)

"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"
- The Script Formerly Known As... (1995)
- Will's Up a Dirt Road (1994)

- Pilot: Parts 1 & 2

"Mad About You"
- Just My Dog (1995)

- The One with Mrs. Bing (1995)

"The Sinbad Show"
- The Telethon (1994)
- The Mr. Science Show (1994)

"The Larry Sanders Show"
- Performance Artist (1993)

"Madame's Place"
- Episode #1.14 (1982)

Not that they really count towards one's credits in Toobworld, but Jay Leno appeared on so many other talk shows, beginning with 'The Mike Douglas Show' to 'The Oprah Winfrey Show', (even a German show called 'Galileo') and of course including 'The Tonight Show' and 'The Jay Leno Show'. "Reality" shows like 'The Osbournes', 'American Chopper' and 'Top Gear' (He created a robot for 'Battlebots' called "The Chin Killer"); and game shows from 'Match Game' to 'Deal Or No Deal' are also in the mix. Plus the movies in which he's often used to encapsulate the American zeitgeist in regards to the hero's situation: "Dave", "Contact", "Calendar Girls", "EdTV", "In & Out", "The Birdcage", and "Wag The Dog".

Jay Leno has been a formidable presence as himself in the Tooniverse as well, and not only as himself. (He's played characters on 'The Fairly Oddparents' and 'South Park', which he also did in the early days on other shows like 'Laverne & Shirley.)

Here's a list of appearances by the cartoon version of Jay Leno:

"Family Guy"
- We Love You Conrad (2009)
- Patriot Games (2006)

- The Delivery (2000)

"South Park"
- City on the Edge of Forever (1998)

"The Simpsons"
- The Last Temptation of Krust (1998)

For alls I know, this is only going to make Jay Leno feel worse, but nevertheless....

Well Come to the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame, Jay Leno!


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