Leno Offers Same-Old in Tepid Return
Critics left cold by victorious host's Tonight Show return
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2010 5:37 AM CST

(Newser) – Jay Leno made his triumphant return to the helm of the Tonight Show last night. Critics say it was like he never left, although they're split on whether that's a good thing:

  • The back-to-the future Tonight Show had "neither pop, nor sizzle, nor surprise, and no amount of cheerleading from unconvincingly hyper-first guest Jamie Foxx could make it seem otherwise," complains Steve Johnson in the Chicago Tribune.

  • Leno's return is being frontloaded with big-name guests, notes David Zurawik at the Baltimore Sun, but last night's tired guest-free segments showed that the host "and one of the least imaginative team of writers and filmmakers in TV" will be in trouble when the supply of stars runs low.
  • Leno gave off a victorious air throughout the show, Hank Steuver writes at the Washington Post, from a segment about a search for a desk to a "fawning" interview with Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn. "There was nothing new, but there was a very happy man on stage."
  • Howard Stern offered his opinion this morning on the CBS Early Show: "Just the mere mention of Jay Leno's name makes me to want to vomit," he said. "Jay Leno seems to be the kind of showbiz animal that won't let go. Jay is a lap dog."