The future of television Monday night looked a lot like the past. Sure, fine, he was a couple of pounds thinner, and there appeared to be a tan on that famously unbronzed exterior.

The jokes felt familiar, the monologue, too. Someone, however, might want to alert Universal lot security: The couch was missing.

Otherwise, what was so different between his last gig and this one, besides the hour?

"This is not another annoying promo," Jay Leno said reasonably at the outset of his new program. "This is the actual show."

And which show is that, Jay?