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Show Business with Dr. Mike Lano

 

February 2014

When NBC's always excellent Winter Olympics coverage ends, it will usher in a new late night television era. The Tonight Show has been the granddaddy of all talk shows since TV pioneering geniuses Steve Allen and Ernie Kovacs were the first hosts back in 1954. That was when stars weren't on simply to pitch product like a new movie or autobiography (now called "furthering their brand").

Retiring-against-his-will host Jay Leno is still allegedly negotiating with former boss Jeff Zuckerberg to possibly do a show on CNN (which dumped Larry King). It would be something if a new Leno show began at 11:30 pm weeknights!

Not only is Jimmy Fallon succeeding Leno on 2/17 as host of The Tonight Show (we've heard that one before) but it's moving back to New York after Johnny Carson brought it to Burbank, California in 1972 to be closer to where the stars lived and worked. Saturday Night Live's creator Lorne Michaels now becomes one of entertainment's most powerful men, controlling not just Saturday Nights, but all of late night NBC programming as SNL's head writer Seth Meyers takes over Fallon's Late Show. Seth will reportedly pop-up on SNL's news segments when Michaels needs him. There's no problem in getting A-listers for the new Tonight Show as Fallon was surrounded by Paul McCartney, Madonna, Barry Gibb, Chris Rock and others on-stage recently. Speaking of Sir Paul, he may highlight the very last event of any kind at the soon-to-be-demolished legendary Candles Stick Park in San Francisco. The Beatles played their last official public gig there in 1966 (a few songs recorded live for Abbey Road on top of a London rooftop was not considered an actual "concert").

Betheny and Arsenio Hall's new talkers aren't drawing rave ratings and reportedly may be on "the bubble" if things don't improve. Rachael Ray's show has been demoted to "less-desirable channels and time-slots" in several markets like San Francisco.

All of WWE's shows are up for renewal with NBC-Universal on the 15th after it "quietly lined-up rights to expire simultaneously in an effort to secure higher fees." Whatever the eventual outcome (if NBC accepts what should be WWE's higher monetary requests), all shows will stay on the current network until October. If another network enters the picture, all shows would move. They're again hinting they might do their Smackdown show live Fridays, dependent upon how much additional revenue they might get in deals. WWE currently gets $139 million/year in tv licensing fees but they now want "NASCAR money." NASCAR airs 154 races (1.38 average rating and a whopping $820 million/year in their current 10 year deal). WWE broadcasts 156 episodes/year (2.2 rating) for far less money. I covered their Wrestlemania 2015 press conference in Santa Clara, CA (Silicone Valley) where they promised that will be the most "wired" event in history. WWE owner Vince McMahon and his daughter Stephanie (married to wrestler Paul "HHH" Levesque) spared no expense bringing in many top performers/wrestlers but would not confirm what everyone already knew: that Dallas had already "won" as the site for Wrestlemania 32 the following year and that their dedicated WWE "cable channel" will reportedly only be a streaming site and not an actual channel or Video On Demand for-pay product like their old WWE 24/7 aka Classics On Demand.

Trivia

Q: Who was the very first Tonight Show announcer?

A: Game show legend Gene Rayburn.

Q: When was the Tonight Show first aired in color?

A: On September 19, 1960 before most of North America even had heard of color tv.

Q: Who was the first-ever sitting president on the Tonight Show?

A: President Obama was the first late-night guest on March 19, 2009 although former presidents Carter, Bush and Clinton had appeared before that.

 

January 2014

Happy 2014 everyone! Superbowl 48 is coming up. Per-second ad-sales rates will be at record highs and advertisers promise more ground-breaking, state-of-the-art commercials than ever. Odds have Seattle facing Denver for the first SB in 38 years played outdoors in predicted cold weather (MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey), but it's anyone's guess at this writing. Hope your team is in it.

Dame Judi Dench has won nearly every tv and movie award possible and her classic BBC-produced As Time Goes By remains the stuff of legend on most PBS American affiliates stations. "When I'm not doing films or tv, I like keeping myself busy on-stage. I can't wait for America to see our new season of Downton Abbey. I hope our friends will be riveted as I am by it. I also plan to continue acting until they put me away in an old wooden box or I drop on-set."

WWE superstar and Harvard law grad David Otunga says he's been away enjoying family time supporting fiancé Jennifer Hudson. "Our son David Jr and I were so proud of her getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame recently. Really mind-blowing. Don't worry, I'll be back on RAW soon." David's been on the cover of several body-building magazines and avidly watches E's Divas reality show (Sundays). The fighting Bella Twins are engaged to top wrestlers John Cena and Daniel Brian (Bryan Danielson) and their exposed personal lives have been every bit as entertaining as the scripted stuff in WWE. Over in TNA Impact Wrestling, they've been elevating farm system talents to the main roster.

CES and NATPE have Vegas conventions this month important to television content and the business overall. CES last year drew more than 30,000 tv/movie professionals including execs from Disney/ABC, Fox, Universal Studios, DirecTV and more. Extra's Maria Menounos is this year's Ambassador and said "if you want to know what you'll be watching from satellite tv on your tv and smart devices, you have to come see all the revolutionary things at both. We're always on the go and thank goodness we can catch up on our smart devices."

Next month has always been known as February "Sweeps" with all new show episodes and specials designed to boost industry ratings but with viewers the ultimate winners. We'll have lots of Sochi Winter Olympics skinny and thoughts from our interview with downhill skiing champ Lindsey Vonn who currently "is still iffy with my re-blown right knee and partially-torn ACL." If she can compete, Tiger Woods will be there for her. And what an array of DirecTV sports of all sorts including some amazing UFC and boxing bouts. Will this be the year that Mayweather finally fights Pacquiao while both are approaching the twilight of their fight careers? Negotiations first began in 2008 for the potentially highest-grossing fight in history but remain at a standstill even with the latter having lost two of his last three fights. This may be it for fans clamoring for that high-caliber matchup of ring royalty artists. The last time I spoke with Sugar Ray Leonard, he said he'd "still love to see those two fight."

DTV Q&A

Q: What can I do if I wanted to watch something on a certain channel, but forgot to turn my DirecTV DVR on?

A: The beauty and salvation of DirecTV's DVR has always been that it's always on even when it's "off!" If you turn it on, you can rewind it, on average, ninety minutes back to pick up something you wanted to watch. This is a great help if you're stuck in traffic or away from home but you do have to have the DVR on that specific channel the last time you had it on.


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