TCA 2010: Seinfeld Calls Leno at 10 "Right Idea at the Wrong Time"
On Conan, says: "You gotta hit the ball. They can't hit the ball for you."
By Melissa Grego -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/10/2010 9:11:07 PM
Jerry Seinfeld says NBC's move to put Jay Leno at 10, a move the network confirmed Jan. 10 it is reversing, was the "right idea at the wrong time."
Seinfeld drew a comparison between the Leno experiment and the AOL-Time Warner deal. "Everyone goes, ‘What a horribly horrible deal that was.' And it wasn't. It was just bad timing," Seinfeld said during an appearance at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena to promote his new NBC series The Marriage Ref.
He suggested that if that deal was done today, and Google was swapped in for AOL, the pact would be received entirely differently. "It was the right idea at the right time. I think this was the right idea at the wrong time. I'm proud of NBC for trying to do something different. That's just showbiz and you've got to try things."
When asked whether he would stay at NBC if he was in Conan O'Brien's shoes--that is, being asked to move his show to 12:05 a.m. after having the plum 11:35 p.m. slot--Seinfeld put the onus of The Tonight Show's ratings performance on O'Brien. "I don't think anybody's done anything to Conan," Seinfeld said. "What did the network do to him? I don't think anybody's preventing anyone from watching Conan."
"You gotta hit the ball," Seinfeld said. "They can't hit the ball for you. They can only give you the bat."
Seinfeld will be among the celebrity guests on the preview episode of The Marriage Ref, which NBC has slated to follow the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics Feb. 28. Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Charles Barkley and Larry David will also appear on the series, which will premiere in its regular Sundays at 8 time slot March 14.
I think what people fail to realize is that The Tonight Show isn't just about the host...The Tonight Show is a time slot. When the studio execs take the 1135 time slot from Conan, they are taking The Tonight Show away from him. Conan realizes that, and he has every right to be angry. I for one will not be watching Jay Leno's show when it moves, nor do I watch it now. I hope that Conan finds a place (and time slot) where his wit and intelligence can be appreciated.
Annie Nonimous - 1/13/2010 2:25:19 PM EST
Yeah ... a fluke show that lasted nine seasons and has yet to be followed with any show even close to the cultural phenomenon that it was.
Seinfeld hasn't done much since his show because he simply hasn't wanted to. That doesn't make him a has been. After all, he passed up more than $100 million that he would have made for season ten.
That being said, I don't agree with what he said, but I don't exactly disagree with it, either. They asked him about Conan and he answered. They didn't say anything specific about Jay.
Zeroed Out - 1/13/2010 5:44:17 AM EST
coming from a hasbeen who hasnt done crap since his fluke show has left the air. Of course he'll badmouth Conan. But you cannot pass up the fact JAY fumbled the ball at 10. Ratings at 1.5, there is no excuse for that. Especially when you have a vast audience that he can grab.
Ronald McDouchebag - 1/11/2010 3:12:05 AM EST
Who cares what Jerry Seinfeld thinks about late night? I have never found him to be funny, have always found him to be smug and arrogant, and hearing that he was in line to replace Conan makes me shocked and worried for he too is a has been. Sorry Jerry, you are much like your old show's premise used to be, "Much about nothing."
Paul Esenback - 1/10/2010 9:40:08 PM EST
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