Tuned In

Meet the New Jay, Same As the Old Jay?

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When you write a TIME cover, people tend to react more to the cover than the story itself. So when my Jay Leno story ran with the cover line “the Future of Television,” some people said: What? Which was the idea. Even if you love Leno, he is not the guy you think of when you think of the word “innovator.”

The point of the article is that Leno’s show’s existence—whether it’s good or bad, a hit or a bomb—represents the future of TV: audience fragmentation, cost-cutting, and broadcast networks becoming basically large cable channels. “The future of TV,” in other words, is not meant as a compliment. Or, for that matter, an insult; I wasn’t a fan of Jay’s Tonight, but I can’t review a show that doesn’t exist.

Comedy.com, however, says it just got a couple writers into a Jay Leno Show practice taping, and they found a show that looked a lot like Jay’s Tonight:

Leno kind of acknowledged that the segmenting of the show was messy. For this overlooked bit, they brought back another old “Tonight Show” standard: “Back to School Products.” The gag products included a laptop that makes paninis, a juice box full of steroids (it was of course called, “Juiced”), a Guitar Hero Sandwich (which was just a hero sandwich strapped onto a Guitar Hero controller), and our favorite – a teacher’s chalkboard that folded out to a sexy bed for seducing students. Leno loves jokes about teachers having sex with students, and always will. Somewhere, Carrot Top must be pissed at Leno for stealing his act.

Ouch. And there’s much more. In my story, I wrote that there were three possibilities for The Jay Leno Show: (1) it would be lame, (2) it would not be lame, or (3) it would be lame enough to be a hit.

Now, I’m witholding judgment until I’ve seen what actually goes out on the air. But from the sound of this at least, we’re looking at possibilities (1) or (3).