Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kanye West tapped for ‘Jay Leno’ debut


Jay Leno’s new late night show debuts next month and NBC has landed Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Rhianna as the first musical act.

NBC said the three singers will perform together on “Run This Town,” a tune from Jay-Z’s new album, on the Sept. 14 debut of “The Jay Leno Show.”

The network and Leno said this week that there will be fewer musical acts. They also said he will feature interesting combinations of performers.

For nearly 18 years, Jay Leno hosted “The Tonight Show” and did a fine job. The show didn’t contain any groundbreaking comedy, but that’s not what the audience expects. As the most viewed show in late night, it should feature whatever celebrities are most appealing at the time. This is not the case with “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” or “The Late Late Show with Craig Feguson,” or the “Late Nite” franchise. Those shows had or have some levity in booking acts that are a more interesting and under the radar. That being said, this should be the time when Jay Leno gets to do what he wants, and I doubt that includes watching these three get all the attention on his new show’s opening night.

“The Jay Leno Show” will air at 10 PM on weekdays, a time when an older generation is going to bed. This is the generation that has aged with Leno and followed him since he took over for Johnny Carson in 1992. This audience does not want to watch Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Rhianna do their thing just before they empty their pill boxes and hit the sack. The generation that does actually want to see them is now waiting for Conan or Jimmy Fallon. Fact is, the audience that is sticking with Jay doesn’t care about who his guests are — they care about him. NBC should just let Jay Leno book the music he’s into as thanks for hosting “The Tonight Show” for so long. How great would it be too see performers who started out in the 60s and 70s on his show instead of those who have only been around for a few years?

If Leno can’t get a guy like Neil Young on a particular night, he could just lie back, kick up his feet, and have a stage hand put on a classic LP as the credits roll.