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To Jay or Not to Jay, that is NBC's Big Question


I talked to film writer/director Kevin Smith yesterday. Obviously, what we were talking about was his funny and controversial forthcoming film "Zack and Miri Make a Porno." But I couldn't resist asking Smith about the plight of his buddy and longtime latenight patron Jay Leno who is now, courtesy of an NBC executive plan, the lame duck host of "The Tonight Show" to be replaced by Conan O'Brien in the fall of 2009. Smith is, in fact, scheduled to be Leno's "Tonight Show" guest this evening.

LenoWhat does Smith think of it all, I asked. Not much, to boil his answer down considerably. Nor do an awful lot of people. Among those expressing dismay, bafflement and worse at NBC's planned Conan-for-Jay swap at 11:30 p.m. was, of all people, Leno's longtime competition, David Letterman in an edition of Rolling Stone.

Would Kevin Smith, in the future, appear on a Conan O'Brien "Tonight Show?" Only after he talked to Leno, he said, and Leno gave his blessing.

Very interesting, that -- especially if a lot of Leno loyalists feel that way and Leno, as expected, moves over to ABC. And says, to all his friends, "no", come on my show instead.

So what do you think of NBC's upcoming Conan-for-Jay swap in 2009?

Lunacy or demographic cunning? Lack of network principle or just smart business?

Your thoughts?

--Jeff Simon

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