NBC Going for Understated Tonight Show Relaunch
The promos for Jay Leno’s return to the Tonight Show started running during tonight’s Olympics coverage. I’m sure the video will be available shortly but until then:
Instead, the network is opting for a low-key echo of the commercials that launched Leno: Last fall, he was shown driving a race car emblazoned with a 10, a reminder of his new slot.
In spots that began airing during the Olympics Wednesday night, he’s driving the same car, only the 10 is replaced by 11:35 (or 10:35, depending on your time zone), as the Beatles song urges him to “Get back to where you once belonged.”
The approach is in marked contrast to the hype — painted buildings, grocery-aisle ads — that greeted his move to prime time last fall. Back then he was heralded on the cover of Time as the “future of television”; on March 1, NBC tries to relaunch Leno in his late-night perch and repopulates its 10 ET/PT schedule with dramas and reality shows.
Update: Josef Adalian writes that the way the spot actually runs is that the car still has the 10 on it but then it flies off the car to reveal 11:35.