25 Things Vanishing in America, part 2: 10 p.m. drama on network TV


I'm supposed to write about the disappearing 10 p.m. drama, but quickly, first, a Jay Leno anecdote. Back in the early 1990s, shortly before he took over the reigns of The Tonight Show, I actually met the legendary comedian in person. He was performing at Indiana University where I was a student, and I had written him a fan letter, and he was nice enough to call me and invite me backstage to meet him. Unfortunately, as cornfed college student, I was so excited that when I did meet him, I didn't act like a normal person. I stammered a few inarticulate thoughts and punctured our stilted conversation with a lot of long, awkward pauses. It's one of those fond memories that also makes me cringe.

In any case, Mr. Leno's gesture way back when means that I can't help but hope he succeeds when this fall, he starts his 10 p.m. show, Monday through Friday. I hope his show is a big hit even if -- as some people suspect -- it means a deathblow to the 10 p.m. drama on network television.