Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Favre, Leno, and Corporate Succession Planning

Skip Oliva from the website has an interesting take on the similarities and differences between what happened to NBC and the Green Bay Packers when it came to finding a smooth succession plan for their franchise players.

Here's a snippet, you can read the entire post here.

Publicly, Leno and Favre cleared a path for their successors. Leno spoke on his "Tonight Show" about the importance of keeping O'Brien at NBC and the need to avoid a repeat of Leno's own problematic transition from Johnny Carson. Favre never publicly supported Rodgers, but in 2008, after many years of wavering on the subject, Favre finally announced his retirement.

Both men then changed their minds. Leno decided he still wanted to tell jokes on television every night, and Favre wanted to continue throwing a football. NBC and Green Bay had already installed their successors, but no matter. The question now was how would each organization's management respond?

Green Bay stuck to its guns. Rodgers was their starter going into the 2008 season. When Favre realized he couldn't simply have his old job back, he demanded his unconditional release (he was still under contract even after retiring). Green Bay said no, primarily because they did not want Favre to sign with Minnesota and compete against the Packers in their division. Instead, Green Bay traded Favre to the New York Jets on the condition that New York didn't turn around and re-trade Favre to Minnesota. That didn't stop Favre. A year later, he lied about his retirement a second time to secure his unconditional release from New York, whereupon Favre signed with the Vikings.

In contrast to Favre, Leno was perfectly free to sign with another network after his contract expired in 2009. He was under no ethical duty to retire. But once word got out that he might go to ABC or Fox, NBC management panicked. Zucker and his lieutenants offered Leno a new contract that would revive his one-hour program - sans the "Tonight Show" name now contractually obligated to O'Brien - to air during the prime-time hour of 10 p.m. NBC spun the new "Jay Leno Show" as a revolutionary idea that would cut the network's programming costs - talk shows are cheaper then scripted dramas - while keeping both of its popular hosts in the NBC family.

NBC's refusal to "move on" proved disastrous. Leno's 10 p.m. show tanked in the ratings and destroyed the lead-in for the affiliated stations' local news - their major revenue source. Leno's program also diluted the "Tonight Show" brand, as Leno and O'Brien were now directly competing for guests and viewer attention.

Skip and I are also in agreement that NBC has made a MAJOR mistake by backing Leno, and letting Conan go. Even if you prefer Leno now, the reality is that he's more likley to need replacing - again - in the not so distant future.

And with the Tonite Show "brand" permantly damaged/compromised by this fiasco, there's no use in trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.


  1. Wait...It just hit me...Do you think Leno did all of this just so he wouldn't have to go to two-a-days in Talk Show camp?

  2. Wait there is one other similarity -- They're both EGO driven douchebags

  3. What are you talking about? We think its a great idea to cancel one host who obviously has the support of the general public for another host that does not for no good reason what-so ever...

    ~FSR Upper Management

  4. The more I think about this thing Czabe, the more I start to believe this whole thing might be a "work."

    -Who benefits the most from the fued? NBC. Both shows' ratings are up.

    -With all the sniping from Conan and Leno, at each other and at NBC, wouldn't NBC be able to silence them if they wanted to? Take them off the air, stop them from making any NBC jokes, or have final edit at the very least?

    -Or, maybe it began as a shoot, and NBC is turning it into a work after the fact. It takes more intelligence and guts to reverse-field on a terrible idea than to go through with it...and they could really be turning a negavite into a positive. Plus NBC could pretend it was a work all along even if it wasn't, and not look so stupid.

    I'm only about 60% sure on this but I'd love to hear you and Galdi give your thoughts on this Unified Alternate Theory on a future Czabecast!

  5. Dubya - Love it! I think Solly would be proud. :)

  6. Czabe, anyway to tie this back into some Erin Andrews talk (and pics)???

    Sorry to go off-topic but but I had to break up Bill's mancrush on Duyba...

    Damn, I really miss that segment. UFR - S.A. Smith sucks.

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  8. Clare,
    your post makes about as much sense as FSR hiring SAS to replace czaban and crew. Maybe you should post this on Smiths blog (assuming he has some lame-ass blog somewhere)and mention NBA jerseys as i think it's the only sport that he and his listeners are even vaguely aware of.