Dave Berg, former co-producer of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the Jay Leno Show for 18 years on NBC has released a new book. In “Behind the Curtain: An Insider’s View of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show,” he dishes the dirt on two decades of presidential gaffes, celebrity outburst and backstage trouble at the popular TV show. Berg joined Brian, Ben and Elisha on the Morning Answer to talk about his new memoir.
Morning Answer co-host Brian Whitman immediately asked Berg about Jay Leno’s uncanny ability to read the pulse of America.
“I think that is the one…if you were going to pin point the reason we were #1 for two decades…it’s that reason,” affirmed Berg. “He was able to read the audience and know what they were about. But ironically, that’s the one thing critics sort of came down on him about. They thought that he was sort of wishy-washy, that he was too mainstream, that he wasn’t edgy. But Jay’s approach was…the customer is always right.”
Berg went on to say Leno grew up wanting to be a salesman like his dad, so he went out there and you give the audience what they want.
Ben Shapiro asked Berg whether or not this was the death of broadcasting now with cable. He wondered whether “narrowcasting,” where very specific audiences are targeted, was bad for the country since we don’t all watch the same thing, further dividing us.
“You have hit upon something that is very profound and I think we do have that to worry about – and I’m not sure where the future is going to take us but yes... I don’t even know what the consequences of that are going to be,” replied Berg.
Elisha questioned Berg about Jay Leno making fun of both sides of the political aisle but now shows are making fun of the right and not the left.
“I think Jay was trying to operate in the great tradition of Johnny Carson, where you make fun of whoever is in power,” explained Berg. “It kind of pays off – you know we were #1 for a reason. I find the humor on Saturday Night Live is kind of hit and miss.”
“And by hit and miss, I think you mean miss and miss,” joked Ben Shapiro.
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