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President Gives Leno a Boost

At the close of his extended interview with President Obama Thursday night, "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno said: "Mr. President, I must say this has been one of the best nights of my life."

It certainly was ratings-wise in Western New York. The NBC program had a 12.9 rating on Channel 2, which the station would die for in prime time. The 12.9 rating means 12.9 percent of the households in Western New York were tuned in after midnight.

The President's taped appearance played opposite live coverage of the NCAA men's basketball tournament on CBS. I'm guessing America's First Fan probably would have preferred watching basketball to watching himself.

The rating here may speak to the President's popularity because he certainly didn't make much news in discussing the economy and other pressing issues facing the nation. If his goal was to be reassuring, he managed that.

Ironically enough, the President made some unfortunate news later in the soft interview when Leno asked him some  personal questions.

After Leno wrongly assumed that the President's limited bowling skills displayed during the campaign meant the bowling alley in the White House had been burned or closed down, the President said it hadn't been and he recently bowled a 129.

That led to praise from Leno and applause from the audience that almost drowned out a presidential statement that "it is like the Special Olympics or something."

There was no negative reaction from the audience or Leno for the inappropriate and insensitive remark, which the President apologized for today.

It isn't the first time that he's had to apologize for saying something insensitive. But he has such a winning attitude and self-deprecating comic style that he's been easily forgiven in the past. That said, if the President keeps this up, maybe "Saturday Night Live" will have enough ammunition to do a skit involving him that is actually funny.

What did you think of the President's performance on Leno's show? What did you think of Leno's questions?

-- Alan Pergament

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About Talkin' TV

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament has continued to blog about television topics since retiring in 2010 as The News' television writer after 28 years on the beat. From local on-air personalities to ratings to the latest on network and cable programming, he keeps you informed.

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