Leno’s Debut Gets Unexpected Boost From VMA Controversy

By Andrew Gauthier 


As NBC affiliates around the country hold their breath today in anticipation of the debut of Jay Leno‘s unconventional new primetime show, there is a new development regarding the programming move that has been analyzed non-stop this summer.

At the MTV Video Music Awards last night, the platinum-selling, spotlight-grabbing rapper-producer Kanye West, who is scheduled to perform on Leno’s premiere, made an unexpected appearance on stage as country music star Taylor Swift was accepting her Moon Man for Best Female Video. Feeling that nominee Beyonce was snubbed, West took it upon himself to make clear that, although he was really happy for the 19-year-old singer-songwriter, Beyonce “had one of the best videos of all time.” The move was first met with cheers and then loud boos. (MTV video here).

It was announced in early August that West would be appearing on the premiere of “The Jay Leno Show” along with pop stars Jay-Z and Rihanna. West’s controversial behavior at the VMAs should certainly help attract viewers to the show, especially in the coveted 18-49 demographic. It’s a stroke of programming luck that may in 24 hours create more buzz around the debut than much of NBC’s reported $10 million advertising campaign did.