One of the best moments was reserved for Jay Leno, who never met an affiliate (and probably a TV critic) that he couldn't disarm, whether you like his brand of humor or not. As the clip says, Leno actually delivered news, such as that his new 10 p.m. show will bring in comedians to shoot their own segments and even include "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams as a featured guest, showing viewers segments that didn't make the cut on the "Nightly News." (You can see him talking about these developments with "Access Hollywood" here.)
Berman also gives props to Larry David (who talked about the upcoming appearances of Jerry Seinfeld and the rest of the "Seinfeld" cast in the upcoming season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm") and also Robin Williams, who is doing a stand-up special for the subscription cable net in December.
But it sounds as though the NBC execs who appeared on a panel together weren't da bomb, but a bomb, stonewalling on the issue involving the network that is on everyone's mind: whether its entire late night switcheroo -- moving Leno to a new five-night-a-week 10 p.m. show, Conan O'Brien into Leno's slot at "The Tonight Show" and Jimmy Fallon to replace O'Brien as host of "Late Night" -- was a good idea. Essentially, one gets the feeling that their collective reply was, "ees not my job." This question, though unanswerable right now, is of critical importance as this game of musical chairs slowly shakes out. We know, now, for instance, that the shift of O'Brien to "The Tonight Show" has put new life into CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" even as O'Brien continues to lead in the younger demographics that advertisers covet for whatever reason. As HR's Hibberd says: "You don't send out network executives to answer questions that they can't answer ... when they can't or aren't empowered to take questions about the question that everyone wants to talk about ... it creates an adversarial relationship." It seems really odd that those execs -- Angela Bromstad, president of prime-time entertainment and Paul Telegdy, who is in charge of unscripted programming -- wouldn't be prepared for such questions, but Hibberd wasn't the only who criticized NBC. Other outlets, from The Los Angeles Times to Mediapost thought the network blew it; Mediapost even called it "a bit of a crucible" for network execs.
Hibberd notes that the Fox executives, by comparison, didn't dodge questions about Paula Abdul's decision not to return to "American Idol" but took the blow in stride.
One side note: From what I can tell none of these presentations have been posted to YouTube. In fact, the biggest presence in terms of clips for this summer's tour came from PBS. Guys, it's 2009. Maybe uploading some of these clips would help promote your shows!
Previous coverage of NBC at BNET Media: