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Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

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A Note On Leno

By on February 12, 2014 in See It Here, The Way I See It, Writing

Jay Leno has left the building.

After 22-years doing “Late Night,” the 63-year old is saying “good night.” I have a story about the early years:

When I was producer of Larry King’s popular late-night radio program for Westwood One, I faced a moment every producer of live (and probably some taped) shows faces: a guest cancellation. And it happened two hours before we went on the air. We were in Los Angeles and I pulled out a notebook I carried with phone numbers. The technical name for this was “OSNW?)” Translation: “oh shit, now what?” It sometime went by another acronym called “OFNW” but I won’t go into that here.

I called Jay Leno’s contact and told him my story. We’re in LA, we have the second hour open, I need a “yes” or “no” within the next five minutes or
I’m going to the next name in my book. He said he’d call Jay and let me know.

NOTE: This was before the Internet so we used phones. I find talking to someone works better than e-mail. Just sayin’.

Three minutes later, Leno called me.”Hey, when I get done with the show (he had been doing the “Tonight” show for about a year by then and, yes, it was taped), I’ll get on my bike and be there.” I gave him the address and right on cue, Jay pulled up outside our studio in Culver City on a huge Harley.

When I’ve told this story, I always get the same question: Who was #2 in the OSNW?

Nobody, I say. In fact, I never had a #1. When they show up on time, that’s when they’re #1. One has to be humble when doing anything live. Mr. Leno proves this is true.

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