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Another good reason not to trust rich Republicans…

This was on NBC:

“From the moment Mitt Romney stepped off stage Tuesday night, having just delivered a brief concession speech he wrote only that evening, the massive infrastructure surrounding his campaign quickly began to disassemble itself.

Aides taking cabs home late that night got rude awakenings when they found the credit cards linked to the campaign no longer worked.”

– NBC’s Garrett Haake

No trickle up…guess that falls in line with trickle down. Obama spent most of the night praising and supporting his campaign workers.

 

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Curious about the public’s opinion of who really won the debate?

It seems that a couple of days of review by NBC using a new tool called ForSight, which is used to gauge public opinion in new media, that there is a sustained backlash against the punditry who had called the debate for Romney. The tool works by evaluating comments in social media.  According to results: if Romney “won”, he did so by lying, whereas Obama had won on substance.

Here’s the report:

The immediate consensus that Mitt Romney won Wednesday’s presidential debate has eroded significantly as fact-checkers have weighed in and supporters of President Barack Obama have fought back, according to NBCPolitics’ computer-assisted analysis of more than 1.3 million post-debate comments on social media.

The analysis suggests that as debate over a news event continues unmediated over time, the impact of the conventional wisdom of journalists and partisan commentators can be mitigated…

By Friday morning, the counterargument that Obama had actually won on substance had taken root, with online sentiment now favoring the president.

 

The stats from the evaluation:

The race isn’t over yet. Romney is not ahead in the public mind. I’m curious to see how the VP debate and the next two presidential debates go down.

Conservatives upset with Romney as he promotes Romneycare..

 

Romney is flip-flopping again.

His campaign is moving in a new direction on healthcare. Mitt Romney praised the health care law he signed as governor of Massachusetts – the model for Obama’s health plan. This has drawn swift and strong rebuke from .

In an interview with NBC News, Romney said:

“I got everybody in my state insured. One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record.”

Of course Romney has attacked President Obama’s similar law, which extends insurance coverage to millions of uninsured people across the country –  especially kids. Romney says he will repeal Obama’s law lock, stock and barrel, and replace it with vaguer reforms that would potentially leave more people uninsured by removing the ban on preexisting condition discrimination.

Democrats love it when Romney talks about Romneycare, using it to paint him as a hypocrite on health care reform. Conservatives, on the other hand, hate it. When a Romney staffer spoke positively about Romney’s health care law last month, conservative commentators said it “just might be the moment Romney lost the election.”

 

Farewell to Miss Monitor. Tedi Thurman dies at 89…

Tedi Thurman – Miss Monitor

It was said that she had the most recognizable female voice in the country. She was the “weather girl” on the long-running NBC radio show “Monitor” in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Tedi Thurman came on and in soft, sexy tones she lured us into rapture with “Cleveland, 34, snow; Boston, 41, cloudy; Phoenix, 62, fair; New York City, 43, sunny; Paris, 38, cloudy.”

She always led her weather report with Atlanta because Georgia was her home state, according to Dennis Hart, author of “Monitor: The Last Great Radio Show” (2002). Monitor was created by Pat Weaver (father of Sigourney Weaver), then president of NBC, in 1955. I remember it well. It filled my weekends from 8 a.m  Saturdays until midnight on Sundays.

Ms. Thurman, who died on Monday at 89, made the forecasts “sound like an irresistible invitation to an unforgettable evening,” according to Jack Gould  in The New York Times right after the show’s premiere.

Monitor became a hit with hosts like Dave Garroway, Hugh Downs, Frank Blair, Gene Rayburn, Henry Morgan and Bill Cullen, and offeried an array of news, sports, comedy, variety, music and live remote pickups from around the nation and the world. For the first six of the show’s 20 years, Ms. Thurman was featured as the so-called Miss Monitor, updating the weather hour after hour.

Decades after she’d left the show, people at parties and gatherings would still ask her to do the weather in the sexy Miss Monitor voice.

States whose polls are open early…

 

First Thoughts on NBC put this out last night:

Idaho and South Dakota today are the first states to begin early-in-person voting. Also today, absentee voting begins in Minnesota, West Virginia, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Georgia, Arkansas, Idaho, and Maryland. This brings the total number of states already accepting ballots to 12. Thirteen additional states (South Carolina, New Jersey, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Delaware, Virginia, Louisiana, and Missouri) will begin absentee or early voting on Saturday.”

So by tomorrow, half the country will be casting votes  (battleground states in bold): AR, DE, GA, ID, IN, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NH, NJ, NC, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, VT, VA, WV, WI.

Is there really a liberal media bias? The stats don’t think so…

 

We’re always hearing the conservative right complain about the “liberal media bias.” The truth of the matter is, however, that it doesn’t seem to exist (maybe with the exception ow MSNBC.)

Take a look:

It sure looks like the conservatives have it pretty fine…not to mention the fact that they also seem to be getting more coverage.

So don’t let the complaints of the right fool you. They know where their advantage lies.

 

I’m sorry to report that Sherman Helmsley has died at age 74.

He was best known as George Jefferson, a character that he first played in All in the Family and later on The Jeffersons, a role that earned him a Golden Globe and Emmy nomination.

Jeffrey Alexander Brathwaite wrote that as a young African-American in the ’70s, he didn’t have many role models:

“But in George Jefferson I witnessed weekly the fortitude and drive of a successful Black businessman. In a time where pimps and denim were all the rage, I marveled at this endearingly brazen Manhattan penthouse-dweller who owned a dry cleaning chain and had a preference for smart 3-piece suits.”

The Jeffersons ran for 11 seasons and ended in 1985.

People Magazine reports that Hemsley retired from acting after five years as Deacon Ernest Frye in NBC’s Amen:

“Although he retired from television acting, Hemsley joined [Isabel] Sanford through the late ’90s and early 2000s to reprise their roles as George and Louise ‘Weezy’ Jefferson on guest spots. The duo appeared on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and in commercials for Old Navy, Gap and Denny’s.”

Here’s our memories:

Helmsley died in El Paso, Texas, of natural causes.

Putting together my Saturday radio show while I watch Grimm…

I don’t know why I watch Grimm… the stories are, well, stupid. The acting is single level at best. The special effects are now getting boring (seeing these descendents of German gremlins and monsters turning into beasts from the neck up, over and over, has stayed roughly the same for twenty weeks.)

I guess Friday nights I need stupid entertainment.

My show is from 11 to 1 tomorrow… I call it “Talk To Me” and have quite a few phone calls, trivia questions and song requests. It’s two hours I really enjoy.

Listen in (89.7 FM) if you get a chance (on line at http://897wshc.org).

So, what is Romney planning to do if he gets elected?

Mitt Romney wants to shut down or amalgamate several US government departments if elected president, but has no plans to tell voters which ones in advance of November’s general election. However, he told some wealthy campaign donors yesterday  at a Florida fundraiser when an NBC reporter caught some live comments on tape:

“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go.

“Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”

When he says “far too many bureaucrats” that he wants to get rid of, remember Harry Truman‘s very old comment:

“A bureaucrat is a Democrat who holds some office that a Republican wants.”

He does seem to be planning to destroy the Education Department and many of the offices that support all those things we of the middle class depend on. If this is what you are looking for in a President from the 1%, then he pretty much admits that’s what he will be.

Tonight is Obama’s State of the Union Address…

President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union speech tonight at 9 p.m. EST. It is expected to last at least an hour, after which Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana will deliver the Republican response (there will be a Tea Party response from Herman Cain… don’t miss it. All speeches like this should end with humor.)

Obama is expected to use the State of the Union to pitch new initiatives on jobs, taxes and housing, in what will be billed as his opening salvo in a long 2012 election race. He will probably push tax breaks for bringing manufacturing jobs home from overseas, give ideas to help the troubled home-mortgage market and create incentives for alternative energy development. Expect him to call again for higher taxes on the wealthy – despite consistent Republican opposition – and to speak of further pressure on China over currency and trade practices.

There are a number of ways you can watch and follow the speech online. The official White House website, which will not only be streaming the speech live, but will be accompany it with charts, stats, and data that reinforce the address. On television, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC will all air the speech live. The Huffington Post will also run liveblog coverage of the event, accompanied by an embedded live video feed.

Some items based on recent Obama remarks leading up to the address:

“Before we take money away from our schools or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.”

The President has promised to let the Bush tax cuts for millionaires expire at the end of 2012.

_____

“[The Affordable Care Act] is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their parents’ coverage.”

At least 2.5 million young Americans now have health insurance through their parents’ health care plans until 26 years of age. As of November, more than 2.2 million people with Medicare had saved more than $1.2 billion on prescriptions (I’m one of them. I support this whole heartedly. – Bill)

_____

Expect the Republicans to make it clear that they will continue to oppose Obama’s positions… but also expect Obama to say that he will be seeking bi-partisan progress even though it is an election year.

It should be noted, however, that State of the Union messages have historically not effected increases in a President’s poll ratings (an exception being Bill Clinton’s 2nd address which increased his numbers by 3%.)

I expect Donald Trump will announce his leaving the Republican nomination race very soon…

NBC announced today that it is renewing “Celebrity Apprentice” for the next season.

According to Variety :

The network is hoping that Trump “will be back for another season, which would mean he wouldn’t be running for president. That said, NBC is prepared to continue the franchise without him should he declare his candidacy.”

Now, the network also said they could deliver the show without The Donald, but it is not certain who they could get who could say “You’re fired” with the same obnoxious vigor.

Let’s keep eyes and ears open for a coming announcement.

Ernie Kovacs Invented Television Comedy…

Ernie Kovacs

Ernie Kovacs

Salon did a very nice article on the late Ernie Kovacs this morning because his widow, Edie Adams, has just released a complete set in DVD form of Kovacs’ kinescopes from the fifties and very early sixties (Kovacs died in an automobile accident in January of 1962… something I remember clearly as a prep school student who kept a copy of his obituary tucked into a copy of Show Business Illustrated with an article on the great man. I still have it.)

From the article:
Some of TV’s most innovative people and programs drew inspiration from Kovacs: Rowan and Martin, the Smothers Brothers, Monty Python, Kids in the Hall, SCTV, the “Saturday Night Live” casts, every host of NBC’s “Tonight Show,” and all the talk shows modeled on “Tonight.” Morning shows raided him, too: Kovacs’ 1951 program “Three to Get Ready,” broadcast live on Philadelphia’s WPTV, was the first morning program anywhere, and was supposedly the inspiration for NBC’s “Today.”

Go over and take a look at the whole piece… it is loaded with YouTube videos of Kovacs kinescopes. Meanwhile, here’s one of my favorites (I don’t think it’s in the Salon post) of the Kovacs character, poet Percy Dovetonsils:

Boy, it’s been 50 years and I still miss Ernie Kovacs.

Last Comic Standing finalist Mike DeStefano dies at 44

Comedian Mike DeStefano, best known for his stint on last season’s installment of Last Comic Standing, died yesterday of a heart attack at age 44.

In a statement, his representative said: “We are indeed incredibly saddened by the loss of this amazing man. He had touched the lives of many with his unique brand of comedy and was looking forward to sharing the same with so many more. Mostly, we will all miss his huge heart and incredibly loving and selfless passion for people. Our friend Mike DeStefano passed away on March 6.”

A former heroin addict, DeStefano had been clean for 11 years as well as HIV positive at the time of his death. Prior to competing on “Last Comic Standing,” the Bronx native had appeared on other shows, including “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” and Comedy Central‘s “Live at Gotham.” The comic was set to take his one-man show “A Cherry Tree” back to his home borough on Wednesday. He had also recently wrapped up a line of sold-out shows called “Drugs, Disease and Death: A Comedy.”

The Reason John Boehner is an Asshole…

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

John Boehner

John (Asshole) Boehner

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner says Americans have a right to think what they want to think, even when they are wrong about President Barack Obama‘s citizenship and his religion.

Boehner tells NBC’sMeet the Press” that he believes Obama was born in Hawaii and that the president is a Christian, and that those are facts.
Some people believe that Obama was born outside the U.S. or in some other way is not a natural-born citizen eligible to be president. There is also a persistent belief among some that Obama is a Muslim.
Boehner denies that he is willing to let those misperceptions remain because they weaken and delegitimize Obama.

Asked why he doesn’t speak against such perceptions, Boehner says it’s not his job to tell Americans what to think.

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Certainly, no Democrat would let such Bullcrap stand against a Republican. Boehner either has no need to make his Party seem intelligent, or he is carrying out a political ploy. Let’s hope it’s one of the many things that make his control of the House a short one.

Let’s hear it for Al Gore…

HuffPo gives us this report:
clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

Keith Olbermann Wooed To Current TV By Al Gore: THR

Al Gore personally asked Keith Olbermann to come to Current TV less than 24 hours after he left MSNBC, the former vice president told the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.
THR says it was Gore who convinced Olbermann to make the move to Current. “We’ve been friends for a while,” he told THR.
During the conference call in which he announced his move, Olbermann made a point of praising Gore and saying how honored he was to be working for him.
THR says that the Current show, which does not yet have a title, will probably premiere in late May, after the deal Olbermann made with NBC blocking him from appearing on other networks ends.
Sources also told THR that Olbermann went to Current because it falls outside the terms of that deal, which specifies different channels that Olbermann cannot work for, even after the non-compete clause ends.
For THR’s full report–including more of Gore’s thoughts on the deal with Olbermann–click here.
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NBC’s temper tantrum over leaked video exposes the network’s thin skin

Seems that NBC has fired an employee for posting a viral “Today” show video… 16 years ago!

This from Salon:

clipped from www.salon.com
Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel were just two of many people who didn’t understand the World Wide Web back in 1994. We know because of a video circulating across that once ill-defined Internet, showing the two — then hosts of the “Today” show — struggling with the complexities of the technology. Gumbel pondered its function (“What, do you write to it like mail?”). Couric turned to an expert, a producer offscreen (“Can you explain what Internet is?”). Neither of them had any idea what the hell that weird letter-A thing was (“@”).
The clip caught fire yesterday. Then suddenly the original poster took it down from YouTube (though others would later repost it). Turns out the guy who originally posted the video was an NBC employee. The network promptly fired him.
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Quote of the Day… one of many I’m seeing all over the Internet

Countdown with Keith Olbermann was the anchor of something extraordinary that emerged, painstakingly and against all odds, during the Bush years. A mild liberal alternative was established in the corporate media to counter the flamethrowers at Fox. Nothing like it had existed since MSNBC fired Phil Donahue in early 2003. Now it’s gone. And it’s hard to see how this gaping hole on the “liberal” end of the corporate media is going to result in anything other than giving a louder voice and greater ventilation to the policies that are currently being advanced by an aggressive right-wing oligarchy.”

– Joseph A. Palermo, Associate Professor, American History, California State University, Sacramento.

“A STATEMENT TO THE VIEWERS OF COUNTDOWN” by Keith Olbermann

This was just issued by Keith:

I want to sincerely thank you for the honor of your extraordinary and ground-rattling support. Your efforts have been integral to the remedying of these recent events, and the results should remind us of the power of individuals spontaneously acting together to correct injustices great or small. I would also like to acknowledge with respect the many commentators and reporters, including those with whom my politics do not overlap, for their support.

I also wish to apologize to you viewers for having precipitated such anxiety and unnecessary drama. You should know that I mistakenly violated an inconsistently applied rule – which I previously knew nothing about – that pertains to the process by which such political contributions are approved by NBC. Certainly this mistake merited a form of public acknowledgment and/or internal warning, and an on-air discussion about the merits of limitations on such campaign contributions by all employees of news organizations. Instead, after my representative was assured that no suspension was contemplated, I was suspended without a hearing, and learned of that suspension through the media.

You should also know that I did not attempt to keep any of these political contributions secret; I knew they would be known to you and the rest of the public. I did not make them through a relative, friend, corporation, PAC, or any other intermediary, and I did not blame them on some kind of convenient ‘mistake’ by their recipients. When a website contacted NBC about one of the donations, I immediately volunteered that there were in fact three of them; and contrary to much of the subsequent reporting, I immediately volunteered to explain all this, on-air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired.

I genuinely look forward to rejoining you on Countdown on Tuesday, to begin the repayment of your latest display of support and loyalty – support and loyalty that is truly mutual.

–K.O.

Juan Cole, too! Most of the best bloggers on the web have made support statements for Olbermann…

…and many, me included, are just not going to turn MSNBC back on unless Olbermann is restored.

Here’s part of Juan Cole‘s LONG piece… get all of it HERE:

That Olbermann is being treated unfairly is obvious. Joe Scarborough has also donated to a political campaign while at MSNBC. And Sean Hannity at Fox has given far more money to candidates than Olbermann ever did. In fact, Hannity donated to Michele Bachmann, which suggests he is better suited to playing a bit part in a remake of the Night of the Living Dead than to anchoring a major ‘news’ show.

Hell, most of the main Republican candidates for president are working for Fox Cable News! So it goes beyond giving some campaign a couple thousand dollars, nowadays!

Fox argues that Hannity is not a news anchor but the equivalent of an op-ed columnist, a purveyor of opinions, and so may also be a political actor.

But MSNBC has already marked Olbermann also as an opinion person, not a hard news anchor, when it took him off election coverage in 2008. So MSNBC has put Olbermann in the same category as Fox has put Hannity. But one is on the air and the other is not.

MSNBC has a long history of throwing liberals under the bus, despite its recent strategy of trying to use them to counter-program against Fox.

In the build-up to the Iraq War, MSNBC had Phil Donahue, whose evening magazine show was the highest-rated thing on the network. As the momentum for war built, the top corporate management became very nervous about having a show starring an anti-war liberal, so they fired Donahue Rick Ellis wrote at the time that General Electric-owned NBC had commissioned a study of its public image, and that the consultants produced a report in which they wrote, that Donahue was a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war……He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration’s motives.” The report worried that the war fever would benefit rival, pro-war, pro-Bush networks and implied that Donahue might succeed in branding NBC in a way that caused viewership and therefore advertising revenues to plummet.

MSNBC replaced Donahue with far right wing shock jock Michael Savage, Dick Armey and Republican Joe Scarborough (who went on to donate to a Republican politician while on the air).

Matt Taibi at Rolling Stone has commented on the Olbermann layoff…

Cropped headshot of Keith Olbermann

Bring Back Keith!

I like Matt Taibi. Here is about half of his comment. The rest is HERE.

We had a whole generation of journalists who sat by and did nothing while, for instance, George Bush led us into an idiotic war on a lie, plus thousands more who spent day after day collecting checks by covering Britney’s hair and Tiger’s text messages and other stupidities while the economy blew up and two bloody wars went on mostly unexamined… and it’s Keith Olbermann who should “pay the price” for being unethical? Because, and let me get this straight, he donated money, privately, to politicians?

This is absurd even by GE‘s standards. There is no reason, not even a theoretical one, why any journalist should be prevented from having political opinions and participating in election campaigns in his spare time. The policy would be ridiculous even if we were talking about an evening news anchor — because the only “ethical” question here is the issue of NBC wanting to preserve the appearance of impartiality and being unable to do so, because political contributions happen to be public record and impossible to hide from viewers.

Again, that would be true even if we were talking about Brian Williams or Tom Brokaw, someone from whom viewers expect a certain level of impartiality. But what Olbermann does is advocacy journalism and it’s not exactly a secret. NBC punishing Olbermann for donating to Democratic candidates is like Hugh Hefner fining the Playmate of the Year for showing ankle. It’s completely and utterly retarded.

These periodic spaz attacks the people in our business have over obscure and usually completely made-up ethical controversies — often over this whole “objectivity” issue, which provides a seemingly endless source of false piety for some of the more obnoxious journo-ethicists — are really irritating. I’m biased, obviously, because I’m a guest on the show, but this is beyond stupid. And by the way, has anyone checked the donation lists for CNBC anchors? I’m guessing a few of those have shelled out to the Rs. What’s the deal, GE?

Even Bill Kristol opposes MSNBC’s Olbermann Action…

This from William Kristol… and who is more Conservative?:

MSNBC’s suspension of Keith Olbermann is ludicrous.

First, he donated money to candidates he liked. He didn’t take money, or favors, in a way that influenced his reporting.

Second, he’s not a reporter. It’s an opinion show. If Olbermann wants to put his money where his mouth is, more power to him.

Third, GE, the corporate parent of MSNBC, gives money to political organizations. GE executives and, I’m sure, NBC executives give money. Why can’t Olbermann?

Perhaps Olbermann violated NBC News “policy and standards.” But NBC doesn’t have real news standards for MSNBC—otherwise the channel wouldn’t exist. It’s a little strange to get all high and mighty now.

But there’s now a Republican House, and perhaps GE is trying to curry favor by dumping Olbermann?

Republicans of the world, show you believe in the free expression of opinion! Tell the crony corporatists at NBC—keep Keith!

Conan is the Ratings Champ Right Now…

According to Salon:

“His manager, Gavin Polone, on Saturday compared it to when Leno, trailing Letterman in the ratings in the mid-1990s, drew attention for the memorable appearance of Hugh Grant after his arrest. Leno passed Letterman in popularity and never looked back.”

Here’s a clip from the article:

clipped from www.salon.com
Conan O’Brien’s battle with his network certainly hasn’t hurt his ratings.
With his jabs at NBC network executives apparently resonating in a country filled with the unemployed, viewership has soared.
O’Brien’s ratings have been rising through the week, which was an extraordinary one in late-night television and saw O’Brien and David Letterman hurling barbed remarks at Jay Leno, and Leno firing back.
“Tonight” ratings Friday were 50 percent higher than they’ve been this season, and O’Brien beat CBS’ Letterman, according to a preliminary Nielsen Co. estimate based on large markets. In the 18-to-49-year-old demographic that NBC relies on to set advertising prices, O’Brien even beat Leno’s prime-time show.
“People who never watched Conan before are saying, ‘I’ll try it,'” Polone said. “Now they’re saying, ‘this is good, I’ll stick with it.'”
It’s doubtful they’ll get the chance.
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Quote of the Day

“And I just want to say to the kids out there watching: You can do anything you want in life… Unless Jay Leno wants to do it, too.”

– Conan O’Brien

Do you get the sense that Conan and Jay are at odds?

Some Wednesday Afternoon Humor

David Letterman  has been having a ball making fun of the Jay Leno/ NBC business… Like this clip from last night:

Variety just broke this news from Conan O’Brien…

… He’s not willing to move the Tonight Show to 12:05. Here’s a clip from the longer article which just came out this afternoon:
clipped from www.variety.com

Conan to NBC: Drop Dead

O’Brien, who has kept his lips sealed so far over NBC’s decision to bump his show to midnight , other than cracking wise about it on “The Tonight Show” , is going public. And he’s not happy.

In a lengthy statement addressed tongue-in-cheek to the “people of earth,” O’Brien said he could not “participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. The ‘Tonight Show’ at 12:05 simply isn’t the ‘Tonight Show.'”

While NBC may argue that it hadn’t breached O’Brien’s contract , he is, in their mind, still the host of the “Tonight Show,” just at a different time , O’Brien will likely argue that the “Tonight Show” is whatever airs at 11:35 p.m. on NBC.

In other words, you can dress O’Brien’s show up and call it the “Tonight Show” , but with former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno back at 11:35, it’s a hollow title.

Such a semantic argument could make a huge difference as NBC and O’Brien potentially head into negotiations.

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