"Things Don’t Always Go as Planned" Please respond to the following:
•From the vignette, “ Jay Leno The Tonight Show: Things Don’t Always Go as Planned”, examine the different mishaps and mistakes that were made on the show. Propose three ways that these mishaps could have been avoided.
•Consider a time where you have acted as a leader in the past and had to mitigate an issue. Examine how you resolved the issue. If the issue was not resolved, examine the steps you took to address the issue and determine a new approach that may have helped you to resolve the issue.
The Tonight Show: Things Don’t Always Go as Planned
“So what does NBC
do? If you are making
buggy whips and no
one is buying buggies
anymore, do you keep
making buggy whips?”
The peacock was feeling the heat.
Affi liate station owners were grumbling to NBC that The Jay Leno Show, the comedian’s new prime-time project
after passing the Tonight Show torch to Conan O’Brien, was bad for ratings and would turn off viewers. Even
worse, Leno’s show wasn’t on the air yet.
High-ranking NBC exec Jeff Zucker, having earlier turned around The Today Show, offered a deal. Leno takes
Conan’s slot but is shortened to 30 minutes. Conan keeps The Tonight Show but moves to midnight.
The deal: It came together like an “after-school special on the Don’ts of leadership transitions,” noted HR
consultant J.P. Elliot.a The result: A PR nightmare
dubbed The Jaypocalypse. Public trash-talking by all
parties. And the defection of a serious chunk of
viewers with strong brand loyalty and purchasing
Only one day after
the deal was
released his earnest
“People of Earth”
winning fans, a
visible majority of
fellow comedians, and, seemingly, almost everyone
on Twitter. In contrast, Leno often appeared
befuddled in interviews, with only Jerry Seinfeld
and Oprah supporting him in the press.
The aftermath: Eight months later, Leno was back
behind the Tonight Show desk. Conan had a
home on TBS. NBC was down viewers, sponsors, and cash, having paid $43 million to break Conan’s contract.
The lesson to be learned: “The real culprit here,” says consultant Elliot, “[is] NBC’s lack of ability to execute their
succession plan.” But just whose failure was that? Perhaps that’s a question best answered by Jeff Zucker as he
ponders the complexities of human behavior in organizations.
1. Time for Conan O’Brien’s Twitter followers to surpass Jay Leno’s: under 60 minutes.c
2. Cost of breaking Leno’s NBC contract: Estimated $150 million. Cost of breaking Conan’s NBC contract: $45 million.d
• After fi ve years of waiting, Conan O’Brien takes the reins of The Tonight Show from Jay Leno.
• Leno, unwilling to step away, launches a prime-time talk show. Affi liates complain even before the show airs.
• To rescue Leno, NBC Universal proposes bumping Conan to 12:05 a.m., Leno to 11:35 p.m. Public acrimony ensues.
• NBC Universal spends an estimated one-third of the cost of breaking Leno’s contract to fi re Conan. Leno’s show
airs, sputters. O’Brien sells out a 30-city comedy tour before launching Conan on TBS.