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Matt Lauer, still very much in damage control after the Ann Curry ouster fiasco and the continued downward pressure on numbers, turned up at "The Tonight Show" Thursday to promote the Psy performance Friday morning on "Today," and perhaps more importantly, to address his own performance.
In one respect, this was a profoundly harmless encounter — as you might expect — but especially interesting to see him describe Kathie Lee Gifford as a close friend, especially close after she came to his defense recently.
Meanwhile, not entirely sure who's giving Matt press counsel but at some point, someone has to tell him: Just say nothing, or — in less polite terms — shut up. A Jay interview doesn't even count as an interview, but as promotion, and to address — once again, even in a highly controlled and positive environment — his ongoing "troubles" serves only to remind viewers that he has ongoing troubles.
The relevant clip:
Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon traded last night what you'd expect - jokes. Jay: Rumors already starting that Justin Bieber will replace Jimmy in five years... Jimmy? Well, in his monologue he barely touched on the transition...but the Roots played the old classic "Tonight Show" lead-in, and that's kind of all that was needed...In the host chat segment later Jimmy talked about how emotional this whole thing was, etc., and thanked Jay for being so gracious and...this: His move to "Tonight" (he said) will actually be February, not March of '14, as was indicated yesterday...
Of course, David Letterman had something to say about Jay Leno, "The Tonight Show," Jimmy Fallon, Dave's mom, Univision... We'd be terribly disappointed if he didn't. In fact, this is terrific: It's funny and shrewd at the same time, for as Dave points out so accurately, haven't they done this at NBC before? A preview:
OK, show of hands - funny, not funny?
Effective or a waste of time?
Hey wait a minute, this is my column, and I'm going with "funny," "effective," "smart."
That would be early Tuesday's morning Jay Leno/Jimmy Fallon duet on "Late Night" - an adroitly autotuned rendition of the Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim classic,...Read more »
Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon ... Just late night rivals ... or lovers? The intriguing possibility was raised Monday night in this duet, sung to "Tonight," at the beginning of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:" (And yes, of course I reviewed this! Go here for that...)
"Why do they say we fight, I like you, you like me ... we're OK ... "
Check it out -- it's good and this could the beginning of a beautiful new relationship ...
Jay Leno, NBC, late night battle...coverage of all three in TV blogs like this one...Thank heavens for Jay because otherwise we'd be unemployed. Another dig at NBC in last night's monologue...of course harmless.
Ah yes, the Late Night Wars: A major conflagration ongoing at the moment, and the United Nations will address this shortly ... unless Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon take care of matters first. Watch, and learn (nothing; happy April Fool's Day):
Jay Leno isn't really going anywhere despite what you may have read. He will leave "The Tonight Show" by next fall, but -- just to bowdlerize the old saying -- when the TV gods close a window, a door opens someplace else.
What's the door for Jay?
There's been all sorts of speculation -- everywhere -- all of it intriguing and certainly feasible. The bottom line: Jay will be...Read more »
We now come to Theory No. 5 in our ongoing series, "Why is NBC messing with Jay Leno?" Two names comprise this theory: "Lorne" and "Michaels."
Along with Leslie Moonves and Brandon Tartikoff, Lorne Michaels is the single-most influential TV executive of the last 30 years - arguably the most. When Michaels speaks, people listen and so they should. But what...Read more »
In my ongoing series to explain why NBC has committed the deliriously self-destructive act of messing up its successful late night franchise by shoving Jay Leno aside again, I bring you now to Theory No. 4: Jay Leno is doing the messing himself.
This theory is not so outlandish as it seems, and actually was mentioned, albeit as an aside - almost a shrug - in the LA Times account of this fracas...Read more »