For years, while interviewing candidates for public office and in an attempt to lighten up a dialogue between The Media and The Politician, I would ask questions like: Leno or Letterman? Beatles or Stones? There’s nothing psychological or scientific to the question, but it would reveal a little bit to a potential voter. Or so I was told.
I’m a Letterman guy; my older brother by 10 years, Leno. He’s a successful CPA and tax law expert in Oklahoma City and we are close. We’ve both seen our late night funnymen in person — Susan and I catching a David Letterman show in New York; Paul and Linda attending a Jay Leno “Tonight” performance in Los Angeles. When we reunite, each of us can’t fathom how the other likes the preferred host. I’ll say of Leno: He’s not funny. Always a set up and a punch line. Same stuff, different day. He’ll say of Letterman: He’s rude to guests. He’s not funny. When I visit him, he’ll indulge me and we’ll watch Letterman for awhile, his face never cracking a smile, until he gets up, says good night, adding, “I don’t get it.”
I watched Jimmy Fallon’s debut Monday night as the new host of “The Tonight Show” franchise, succeeding Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno (again). The show returned to New York for the first time in 42 years and a slew of Big Apple big shots came by and paid homage. Letterman good humoredly made a passing reference to the show’s relocation and new host. Fallon attracted 11.3 million viewers that night, almost three times the average number of viewers. The show came in right after the Olympics and didn’t go head to head against Jimmy Kimmel or Letterman.
It’s remindful, to some degree, of when Barbara Walters became the first female co-anchor of a network news broadcast for ABC in 1976. It was a big deal. Hype, and more hype.
The next night, David Brinkley, over at NBC, opened his news cast with a wry, “Welcome back.”
More media stuff…..
Derek Jeter, the NY Yankees captain, will retire after the 2014 season, a lock on a first-round Hall of Fame induction after an outstanding career. What awaits him is a new fortune in product endorsement, according to a story in Wall Street Journal.
Jeter’s squeaky-clean, role-model persona is welcomed in a sports world of steroids, locker room harassment and other controversies. He’s earned more than $250 million in his career and packs in another $10 million annually in endorsements for Gatorade, Nike, Movado, Pepsi and others. Almost eight of 10 Americans know who he is, says one advertising researcher, an extraordinarily high figure of recognition, adding, “even the Red Sox fans like him.”
“Be at war with your vices; at peace with your neighbors, and let every New Year find you a better man.”
—Benjamin Franklin, (1705-1790), Founding Father, diplomat, inventor