More failed products and people: The 9 biggest fizzles in 2009

Jay Leno
Jay Leno

In the overwhelming thunder of 2009's Big Fizzle (the economy) many smaller yet important fizzles may have escaped public scrutiny. Here are nine that our writers found worthy of drawing to your attention. Feel free to add your candidates as comments.

The Jay Leno Show

Jay Leno, the former undisputed King of Late Night, still has a place in the TV kingdom, but not in prime time. His 10:00 p.m. "Jay Leno Show" -- which was hyped by NBC as the next great talk-show reinvention -- got shellacked in the ratings war of 2009. Early lukewarm reviews of the Monday-through-Friday comedy program hinted at a possible ratings rout: "Leno's funny, but ... he adheres to the center of the exact middle road, so it's wrong to expect a revolution here.""It's not a good sign when the Bud Light commercial is funnier than the comedy show it interrupts." Ouch.

The program showed ratings promise early on, but by Nov. 9, a scant two months after its mid-September premiere, it was cruising the swamps with a 1.2 national rating among 18-to-49-year-olds, a key demographic. That's 4.07 million viewers, compared with the nine million or so that tune in regularly to CBS' "CSI: Miami" in the same 10 p.m. time period.

And that's just Monday nights. Leno also dragged down Conan O'Brien, who'd fallen behind David Letterman in the late-night ratings derby. NBC affiliates, meanwhile, complained that they were losing their local audiences – KVBC Las Vegas lost nearly half its viewers at 10 p.m. compared with a year ago. It's no surprise, then, that the network is moving Leno back to the 11:35 p.m. slot, bumping Conan back to 12:05 a.m.. -- Diane Wedner