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JAY LENO IS A WHORE

By / 09.29.09

Anecdote time: when I first moved to New York, one of the crappy jobs I had was writing survey questions that measured TV viewers’ retention of product placement ads. Basically, every night I’d show up to the office — comprised of individual stations, each with a small TV set, TiVo, and desktop computer — get my show assignments for the night, and get to work watching shows and annotating on a spreadsheet all the product placements. And I had to catch it all: Was the product mentioned or shown? Was it in the background or used by a character? A primary character or secondary character? Was it used for its intended purpose? How long was it shown onscreen? THEN I had to write not one but two questions for every product that appeared or got mentioned. Stuff like “Supernatural” was usually pretty harmless, “Project Runway” was bad, “America’s Next Top Model” was horrific.

But the worst was getting late-night shows: they didn’t start until 11:35, and you knew that you’d be working for an hour or 90 minutes after they ended because there were always 12-15 product placements in Leno’s “Tonight Show” and Letterman’s “Late Night”: around 5-7 product mentions during the monologue, whichever movies the guests were plugging, plus a couple gags and random mentions that happened during the interviews.

All of this is a long way of saying that “The Jay Leno Show’s” rampant whoring is beyond egregious. The video above — which is all the product placements from a SINGLE SHOW last week — features 10 product mentions in the monologue and a grand total of 26 product placements throughout the show, including an insultingly ad-driven Wendy’s bit, a sponsored Bing.com segment that was used for MORE ad placements, and questions for LeBron James in which he gets asked to name specific companies. That’s about twice the product placement of the usual late-night talk show, and probably more when you take into account how much of Leno’s is deliberate versus incidental. In conclusion, Jay Leno is actually worse than you already thought he was.

[EdRants via Videogum]


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