Is there a late-night truce in the works? After taking aim at his parent network during every Tonight Show monologue last week — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, with a Jimmy-Fallon-is-coming report in between — Jay Leno seems to have taken a break from mocking the NBC captors in the boardroom who are already planning for a future without him. His opening routine Monday night, in which he lamented the "tough crowd," made fun of the acronym for Florida Gulf Coast University, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, Obama in Israel, and a woman who has an "allergic reaction" to exercise.
Of course, there was one bit about a rattlesnake handler. Deadline sort of surmised that the quip could perhaps that was a callback to last Monday night's monologue, when he followed up a report that his jokes about NBC's ratings were upsetting his boss Robert Greenblatt by calling executives "snakes." But that seems a little subtle for Leno. He also did make a joke this Monday about NBC's The Apprentice and Donald Trump's hair, but that's not a direct hit—everybody at NBC makes fun of Trump.
So after a week of warring, which culminated in a—quite literal—stinker about NBC sending him on a poop cruise, it seems that the Leno-NBC feud may have cooled, at least in public, and at least for now. Maybe he realized he wasn't winning over any fans by acting like a petulant child. Maybe that dinner with Bob Greenblatt did have some sort of effect. Maybe it finally dawned on him that because of his contract he's going to have to stick it out with these guys through 2014.
Meanwhile, Leno has recently gotten some support from an unlikely place: Jimmy Kimmel—who has been in the past vocally critical of Leno—told Broadcasting & Cable that he's "firmly on Jay’s side" on the subject of the "exchange of pointed e-mails" Leno and Greenblatt sent over thsoe ratings jokes. Kimmel continued: "Talk shows have been making fun of their network and network executives for about 40 years now. It shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone."
You know who's staying out of this whole thing completely? Conan O'Brien—the last man to suffer at the hands of Leno, who must be having a tough time with all of this in private. O'Brien was on a hiatus during the NBC-Leno fracas last week, but when he retunred to TBS Monday after all those March Madness promos, he decided not to get involved, Entertainment Weekly reported.
You can watch Leno's Monday-night letdown here:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.