Ep 208: Men of a Certain Age, NBC and Leno and Conan

Oh yes. We’re back, and we’ve prepared for your listening pleasure the greatest 70 minutes of television related discussion OF ALL TIME.

Nelly Thomas joins us at the start of the show to prove that she is not just John putting on a funny voice.

Then we discuss Men of a Certain Age, a new drama starring and co-created by Ray Romano.

Also there’s an I Don’t Buy It and some other stuff.

OF ALL TIME, people. OF ALL TIME

Contact us by sending us email or send us an SMS on 0458 288 837 (0458 CUTTER)

18 Comments

  1. Hmm… Glad to see that the addition of Nelly to the Boxcutters family has *raised* the bar on the type of humour we, the listeners, can expect.
    Fresh as a prostitute, Josh? I have two words to say to you, and they are: well done.

  2. Hmm… Glad to see that the addition of Nelly to the Boxcutters family has *raised* the bar on the type of humour we, the listeners, can expect.
    Fresh as a prostitute, Josh? I have two words to say to you, and they are: well done.

  3. A.K.A.Mum says:

    How about I deduct the $1 from my next Paypal donation and we'll call it square?

    Haven't listened to the ep yet, but welcome back!

  4. A.K.A.Mum says:

    How about I deduct the $1 from my next Paypal donation and we'll call it square?

    Haven't listened to the ep yet, but welcome back!

  5. A couple of quick corrections & addendums, gang;

    – the Leno/ Letterman book Josh refers to in the episode is actually titled “The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, and the Network Battle for the Night”, by Bill Carter. Read it a few years back, and concur – very good read.

    Having read it though, the current imbroglio comes as no real shock, because a) NBC have a terrible track record with talent relations, and b) Leno is absolutely relentless in solidifying his support base with the affiliates; personally calling affiliate heads weekly, doing ads & promos gratis for local stations and just generally busting his ass off trying to ingratiate himself /network with/ instill personal loyalty in these people. The affiliates are the actual customers who are, after all, the ones paying cold hard cash money to NBC.
    (BTW, the book alone is worth it just for Leno himself admitting how he used to eavesdrop on NBC exec's conference calls to get an advantage over Dave… funny, funny stuff)
    Consider it the advantage of persistance mixed with rat-bastard cunning. I call it 'the Howard factor' (OOOH – satire! *ahem*)

    – the reason that Australian TV 'shutsdown' at 10:30pm is purely because the local networks here have trained viewers to expect it. Cast your mind back 10-15 years and arguably the hardest fought ratings battle on the box was (variations of) Steve Vizard (w/Richard Stubbs) vs Graham Kennedy vs Clive Robertson vs Lateline vs straight news. Long ago now, but I think it proved Australians would watch later starting shows if the content was treated like it matters. Sure, some good shows have been put later than 10:30 since, but without the 'razzle dazzle' to cue the audience that it's not just intended as overnight filler. It's a conscious (or possibly sub-conscious decision by the networks to not contest the timeslot in the way the US does.
    And of course it's just massively cheaper to recycle the 6pm news with a different face reading the autocue.

    – Brett (I think) pointed out that 'the Skyshow' is an anachronism and no longer takes place this side of the country. Point of fact – Canberra still runs one every year, dodgy out-of-sync radio simulcast included. Only they add FA-18 jet fighters to the mix. Still crap though.

  6. A couple of quick corrections & addendums, gang;

    – the Leno/ Letterman book Josh refers to in the episode is actually titled “The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, and the Network Battle for the Night”, by Bill Carter. Read it a few years back, and concur – very good read.

    Having read it though, the current imbroglio comes as no real shock, because a) NBC have a terrible track record with talent relations, and b) Leno is absolutely relentless in solidifying his support base with the affiliates; personally calling affiliate heads weekly, doing ads & promos gratis for local stations and just generally busting his ass off trying to ingratiate himself /network with/ instill personal loyalty in these people. The affiliates are the actual customers who are, after all, the ones paying cold hard cash money to NBC.
    (BTW, the book alone is worth it just for Leno himself admitting how he used to eavesdrop on NBC exec's conference calls to get an advantage over Dave… funny, funny stuff)
    Consider it the advantage of persistance mixed with rat-bastard cunning. I call it 'the Howard factor' (OOOH – satire! *ahem*)

    – the reason that Australian TV 'shutsdown' at 10:30pm is purely because the local networks here have trained viewers to expect it. Cast your mind back 10-15 years and arguably the hardest fought ratings battle on the box was (variations of) Steve Vizard (w/Richard Stubbs) vs Graham Kennedy vs Clive Robertson vs Lateline vs straight news. Long ago now, but I think it proved Australians would watch later starting shows if the content was treated like it matters. Sure, some good shows have been put later than 10:30 since, but without the 'razzle dazzle' to cue the audience that it's not just intended as overnight filler. It's a conscious (or possibly sub-conscious decision by the networks to not contest the timeslot in the way the US does.
    And of course it's just massively cheaper to recycle the 6pm news with a different face reading the autocue.

    – Brett (I think) pointed out that 'the Skyshow' is an anachronism and no longer takes place this side of the country. Point of fact – Canberra still runs one every year, dodgy out-of-sync radio simulcast included. Only they add FA-18 jet fighters to the mix. Still crap though.

  7. Mords, you make a great point about the Vizard (or Clive) v Kennedy battle. I *had* forgotten about that.

    Also, I was so upset to forget Bill Carter's name. I think he's a brilliant TV commentator but was adamant to just power on through the segment.

    We have, in the past, reviewed his also excellent Desperate Networks<img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=boxcutters-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0767919742″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />, which is definitely worth checking out.

  8. Mords, you make a great point about the Vizard (or Clive) v Kennedy battle. I *had* forgotten about that.

    Also, I was so upset to forget Bill Carter's name. I think he's a brilliant TV commentator but was adamant to just power on through the segment.

    We have, in the past, reviewed his also excellent Desperate Networks, which is definitely worth checking out.

  9. Do all of the affiliates play all of the late night talk shows? I know that some of the affiliates here stop broadcasting after the 11 o'clock news; is this not also true of some of those in the United States?

  10. Do all of the affiliates play all of the late night talk shows? I know that some of the affiliates here stop broadcasting after the 11 o'clock news; is this not also true of some of those in the United States?

  11. Rob Boxcutter says:

    Less prone to identity confusion than Bross, but oh how much more ripe for innuendo: welcome to Boxcutters John Thomas!

    BTW, Brett owes me a dollar.

  12. Rob Boxcutter says:

    Less prone to identity confusion than Bross, but oh how much more ripe for innuendo: welcome to Boxcutters John Thomas!

    BTW, Brett owes me a dollar.

  13. Thank god for Mordwa – he/she knows their facts.
    Amongst your many wrong comments, NBC planned to move Conan's tonight show to 12.05am, not 12.30am.
    Your knowledge on the NBC/Leno/Conan screw up is minimal. Next time, please get a person in who can handle the topic aptly.

  14. Thank god for Mordwa – he/she knows their facts.
    Amongst your many wrong comments, NBC planned to move Conan's tonight show to 12.05am, not 12.30am.
    Your knowledge on the NBC/Leno/Conan screw up is minimal. Next time, please get a person in who can handle the topic aptly.

  15. Thank god for Mordwa – he/she knows their facts.
    Amongst your many wrong comments, NBC planned to move Conan's tonight show to 12.05am, not 12.30am.
    Your knowledge on the NBC/Leno/Conan screw up is minimal. Next time, please get a person in who can handle the topic aptly.

  16. I realised the times stated were off as Josh mentioned them but let it go to allow the flow continue.

    Apologies to all those in the US who rely on Boxcutters for your television scheduling needs. We were clearly negligent in that regard and should have been keeping you in mind when we misspoke. There are a number of publications and web sites that are much more competent than us for local listings.

  17. Sorry that the boxcutters didn't give an 100% accurate off-the-cuff summation of a series of events that happened a decade or more ago in another counrty. Won't happen again Mr Leno.

  18. There are a WHOLE HEAP of things Josh got wrong on the topic of US television… among other things, Lost (an ABC show, not NBC) kicks off at 9, not 10. And the 10-11 slot ISN'T the biggest prime-time slot- that tends to be closer to the 9pm slot – by 10-11, you're going into stuff that's more marginal (among recent shows you've discussed on Boxcutters, “Southland” was a 10pm show).

    Also, Conan O'Brien never presented in a post-David-Letterman timeslot – Conan came in, basically, from his writing career as a virtual unknown to take over Letterman's slot after Letterman quit over the original post-Johnny-Carson Tonight Show kerfuffle. He built up a viewership over time, despite a lot of criticism and, initially, low-ish ratings. Presumably he was hoping for more of the same once he moved up to

    And Craig Ferguson has never been on one of the post-Tonight-Show slots either – he's on after Letterman as the Late Late Show (i.e., after Letterman's Late show) on CBS. The whole Jimmy Kimmel confusion probably didn't help (particularly given the inheritor of Conan's slot is currently Jimmy Fallon, a different Jimmy).

    For a general breakdown, the current late night schedules run as follows:
    ABC – Jimmy Kimmel (just the one, oh yes)
    CBS – Letterman, followed by Craig Ferguson
    NBC – Leno, followed by Jimmy Fallon, followed by Carson Daly.

    I'm only partway through the podcast, but Josh's, um, casual approach to research really brings him undone here. If you're going to discuss a topic like this in some kind of depth (and making it the headline story on Boxcutters News kinda suggests you are), you do need to make sure you have your facts straight, and sadly, Josh simply didn't.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *