At this point, I'm wondering if NBCUniversal still thinks the continuing spectacle of THE JAY LENO SHOW (which now seems so hamstrung due to apparent restrictions on booking guests, it's turning to members of the George Butch Jr. family and the lame-duck California Governator) is worth the effort because it keeps Leno from being a competitive late-night force on some other network.
A modest proposal: do away with guests altogether and cut the show to a half-hour--giving network affiliates some slight relief and an earlier start on late news.
This way, Jay can merely do his monologue--plus all the hoary, fan-pleasing old bits (Jaywalking, Headlines, etc.). And maybe someone at NBCUniversal can strongly insist that he dump the sour "smirking about being gay" schtick that seems left over from, say, the latter years of THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW--yes, that may mean getting rid of the demeaning, ridiculously stereotyped "Ross The Intern."
Or, if NBCUniversal really wanted to save money, they can turn the new soundstage over to another tenant and just tape Jay doing his Sunday evening joke tryouts at the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach. Five half-hour timeslots filled just like that.
[UPDATE 11/9/09: A better proposal might be to move Conan O'Brien to 10:00 (where his younger-skewing demographic may be more compatible with some of NBC's primetime lineup) and call Conan's show EARLY TONIGHT. This can allow Jay to return to 11:35 and keep doing the same old stuff; it could even be rebranded as TONIGHT SHOW CLASSIC.]