Fall Premieres – Trivial Teens and Leno’s “Retirement”

Tonight brings offerings that pose little to no threat to my precious DVR space with the return of two more dry dramas from The CW and the beginning of a new form of “late” night on NBC.

The CWThe CW seems to have cornered the market on telling tales of teen trials and tribulations, and while it’s sensational enough for a lot of viewers I’ve yet to find much enjoyment from their line-up both past and present (the snappy snark of Veronica Mars being the only exception). First up is the people-still-watch-this seventh season of One Tree Hill. Limping into the year it will be without breakout star Chad Michael Murray, which makes me speculate this could be the swan song season of the series.

Gossip Girl ad campaign for its second season
Gossip Girl ad campaign for its second season

Still hot, with its trend-setting cast firmly at the center of the Young Hollywood set and getting constant media exposure, Gossip Girl begins its third season following the pampered prep school kids into their first year of college. Never a series to shy away from creating and embracing buzz (dig the ad campaign from last year) the big news going into this season is main moneyed douche Chuck Bass’s same-sex liplock by episode six. A truly less-than-scandalous story for anyone who finds the “shock” factor of a man-on-man kiss both parochial and passe – plus those who’ve read the GG books (or been conscious while watching any episode) knows the guy started out gay.

Passing The Tonight Show torchWith The Tonight Show torch now firmly in the able hands of Conan (CoCo!), Jay Leno takes up his new post weeknights at 10/9pm that seems eerily like his old one (though official reports state that fans of Tonight should expect “big” changes). While Leno will abandon the traditional late-night host’s desk and act as a kind of roving emcee, introducing the work of a team of comics who have gone out in the field to tape pieces, each show will still have a monologue at the top of each show, a guest – Jerry Seinfeld is scheduled for the premiere – and close with his famous “Jaywalking” or headline segments, which will lead directly into local news.

Leno’s show will no doubt be watched heavily during its initial inception, considering his is an experiment for a network that has traditionally seen this timeslot deliver acclaimed scripted hits over the years (ER, Law & Order, Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law), defining it as the gold standard of sophisticated programming. However with the business rapidly changing from what was seen in the ’80s and ’90s, this new approach to primetime is going to be closely monitored by NBC and competitors alike to see if a viable model to future programming has been found.

Not On My DVR, But If You Have Space

  • 8/7c – One Tree Hill, The CW
  • 9/8c – Gossip Girl, The CW
  • 10/9c – The Jay Leno Show, NBC (series premiere)

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