C.J.: Life after ‘Tonight Show’ brings new day for Leno

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 17, 2014 - 6:14 PM

Ryan Lance of the Blenders said Leno seemed totally uninterested in doing more TV.

Jay Leno doesn’t sound like “he has any interest in doing any TV ever again,” from what Ryan Lance heard.

Lance and the rest of the Minneapolis-based Blenders — Tim Kasper, Darren Rust and Allan Rust — opened four Florida performances for Leno right after he tearfully signed off NBC’s “Tonight Show” for the second time. The group, celebrating its 25th year of harmonizing, is a favorite of Leno’s.

I told Lance my mom has been very concerned about how Leno will handle being replaced by Jimmy Fallon, whose first show was last night. Told him that Mother also spends lots of time worrying about the lives of those less fortunate.

“Right,” said Lance. “I don’t think he’s doing too poorly. He’s great. We actually worked with him the night after he finished his last night on the ‘Tonight Show’ and his wife, Mavis, was with him, too. She’s made the comment: Well, once the show is done we hit the road.

“He seems to be doing just fine,” Lance said, though he did mention one troubling detail. “Except when he’s on stage, he always wears, in the last twenty-something years we’ve been working with him, the same denim shirt and jeans,” Lance said, laughing. “Every picture we have with him, he’s always got a denim shirt and jeans. He really is a good guy, a kind guy. He seems like he’ll do OK.

“However, he seems to be a little more upbeat than the last time we saw him, like a couple years back. I don’t think he’s happy about it, but he’s glad to be moving on,” said Lance.

Surely Fox is looking at giving another late-night show to Leno, who after all left NBC in the No. 1 spot.

“We were speculating about that. There must have been some clause; NBC probably didn’t want him to go to any other network so they probably paid him pretty well to do a noncompete,” Lance said.

He said Leno seemed totally uninterested in doing more TV. “That’s what he said,” Lance said.

After a couple of years of the unctuous if multitalented Fallon, who knows what frame of mind viewers and Leno may be in?

 

Malfunction for unreal McCoy

Sometimes TV news anchors forget they’re on camera because they are as comfortable in the studio as in their living rooms.

That’s what I think happened Super Bowl eve when KARE 11 anchor Blake McCoy made a hand gesture in the direction of anchor Rena Sarigianopoulos intended to nearly re-enact the “wardrobe malfunction” brought to us by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.

“C.J. — did you see or hear about this inappropriate boob grab on the news last night??” e-mailed English teacher Beth. “The last story of the newscast was a mention about the Timberlake-Jackson breast fiasco during the Super Bowl halftime show many years ago. After the report, Blake says to Rena Should we re-enact? and then he reaches over to her as if he is going to grab her breast. I was appalled, offended and am still (12 hours later) angry and in shock.”

I had forgotten about Beth’s e-mail until a Strib colleague reminded me. I ordered a copy of the scene from Susan Krepps-Diamond at NorthStar Media Services, who sent over a courtesy clip with the note: “He just couldn’t help himself … lol.”

I saw that Sarigianopoulos responded with a “No” and a chuckle and some words undecipherable to me, as McCoy said, “Just kidding.” Sarigianopoulos appeared startled for about nine-sixteenths of a second, the time that Rena said 90 million got to view Jackson’s pierced breast.

“I would never intentionally offend anyone. The infamous ‘wardrobe malfunction’ was 10 years ago and I thought the sensitivity over it had passed,” McCoy told me via e-mail. “We laughed about it. It was a lighthearted moment at the end of a Saturday night newscast. Rena and I are good friends outside of work and that carries over on the air sometimes. I expected a tweet or two. Just not from you!”

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