Jay Leno to appear in NBC upfront


NBC has scheduled what it is calling a “comedy showcase” for the evening of 5/19, inside the Town Hall theater in NY, with Leno leading a roster of comedy performers from NBC, reported The NY Times. The group will also include Conan O’Brien, soon to be the new host of “The Tonight Show.”

The show, beginning at 9 p.m., has Leno scheduled to take the stage precisely at 10 — the new slot he will occupy on NBC’s schedule starting in September.

NBC’s comedy event will also include a stand-up performance from its most recent late-night host, Jimmy Fallon, who has scored promising early ratings as the successor to O’Brien on the 12:35 a.m. “Late Night” show. Another corner of NBC’s late-night territory, “Saturday Night Live,” will be represented by a special edition of its “Weekend Update” segment, featuring the current comedy anchor, Seth Meyers.

In addition, said the story, the show will include a performance by Rainn Wilson of “The Office.” That show’s star, Steve Carrell, and other cast members will most likely contribute a taped scene, as will Tina Fey and the cast of “30 Rock.”

NBC’s event will fall on ABC’s upfront day. ABC executives said NBC had not let the network know about the comedy performance, but they said the timing of the event did not interfere with ABC’s schedule for that day.

RBR/TVBR observation: NBC is still not calling this a “traditional” upfront presentation, but bottom line nothing can promote your programming better than having the stars of that programming participate. This year should be very entertaining for the agencies.

And hey, in these tough times, let’s give kudos to NBC for bringing back at least little of the glitz—even if it’s not quite as big as in years past.

NBC is also reportedly talks with Jerry Seinfeld for him to appear its 5/4 “InFront” pre-upfront presentation. Last year’s InFront scheduling presentation (the first year NBC broke ranks from the big, glamorous upfront) was held in April and was followed up by a series of one-on-one client meetings in New York, LA and Chicago.