Monday, September 14, 2009

Leno and other random thoughts

There is a lot of skepticism about Jay Leno's success in the 10pm (E) time slot. I am one of the naysayers - to the skeptics. I believe he will do exceedingly well. I am also one of the people who will watch him.

When I lived in the east coast in the pre-DVR days, I found the late night shows to be on too late (is that an oxymoron?). Also given the current nature of their jokes and the fact that they are on most weekdays, I do not tend to record them on my DVR these days unless there is an expectation of a really interesting guest.

The other reason I feel/hope he will be successful is because I am a sitcom aficionado. I do not particularly care for the serious drama/programming that otherwise occupies networks in this hour. I have never cared for crime or hospital dramas and lately my interest in news magazine shows have also declined. I was never a major reality TV fan either.

As a self admitted news junkie with a ear tuned throughout the day on the financial news especially, I am pretty much worn out by news by the end of the day. I prefer my prime time TV shows to consist of blah sit coms which are good for a laugh. In this environment I believe that Leno will be a welcome change. I am betting that there are many others in this country who feel the same way too and will make his program hugely popular. So popular that they will have to raise the ad rates on it very soon.

Let us see how this prediction pans out.

Either way, whether it succeeds or fails, this is a win-win for Leno. Success of course will give him a vehicle on NBC. Failure may result in him being courted by Fox or ABC for inclusion in their late night schedule. I wonder if ABC will slot Nightline in the 10 or 10:30 pm slot to make room for Leno should that happen.

Speaking of TV shows I watched quite a bit of CNBC during the night of 9-13. I caught the tail end of Maria Bartiromo's interview with Citibank CEO Vikram Pandit and later the town hall meeting with Tim Geithner the treasury secretary. From Pandit's speaking and his body language it appeared that Citi is well capitalized for the time being. I am a little anxious about my shares of C, but I will hold on to them for a little longer. As for Geithner, many of us fail to realize the complex and stupendous tasks that faced policy makers like him and Paulson. It is very easy to criticize them in hindsight but I wonder how many of us would take decisive action like they did during the most challenging times and under intense scrutiny.

Looking at major news today (and contrasting them with the headlines during the beginning of the year),
  • Fed rate is still close to zero
  • Fighting in Israel is no longer headline grabbing and the pirates seem to have mysteriously disappeared.
  • The Dow is at 9592, the NASDAQ at 2083 and the S&P at 1043.
  • Gas is around $2.30 locally
  • There is a lot of debate on health care, some of it very ugly.
  • Money, job and home worries still persist
  • Conflicts continue in Afghanistan and less so in Iraq - at least from the US perspective.
  • Gold has topped $1000.

In the U.S. at least health care and deficits seem to be getting the most press along with a growing wariness about the war in Afghanistan and an undercurrent of a "what are we doing there" attitude. While there is consensus in capturing or killing the planners of 9-11, there seems to be a growing unease on continued guerilla warware without any clear goals.

Lastly, since I started this post off about a TV show, I wonder how many people are out there who would welcome the introduction of a digital VCR? I mean a DVR for all intents and purposes but without programming fees. The only option these days appears to build one using the Windows Media Center software. DVR programming fees - to me at least - is another source of money dripping from my pocket book and I resent the charge. If I could happily record shows on my VCR for free, I don't see why I should have to pay for that privelege on my DVR.

No comments: