Leno's Back: 'Prepare for War'

Comedian's return comes at sensitive time for O'Brien, scripted drama
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2009 11:10 AM CDT
Jerry Seinfeld will be the first guest tomorrow on NBC's "The Jay Leno Show."   (AP Photo/Chris Weeks, file)
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(Newser) – The premiere of the much-ballyhooed Jay Leno Show tomorrow night could revolutionize network television, thrilling Hollywood publicists and advertisers—or produce a stunning commercial embarrassment for NBC. Either way, "prepare for war," Guy Adams writes in the Independent. Leno’s rather noisy return to American television comes at a sensitive time for his struggling successor, Conan O’Brien, and for scripted dramas. Leno’s first week alone will include appearances by Jerry Seinfield, Jay-Z, Tom Cruise, Halle Berry, and Miley Cyrus.

“Network television has been about winning the ratings battle,” says Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Block. “That's not what Jay Leno's about. He’s about making money.” But even though advertisers are paying NBC roughly half of what they would pay for a 30-second spot during a scripted drama, Leno must be careful not to appear low-rent, Block says: “If you’re the town whore getting rich, are you really going to be respected by the people in church?”