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Wash Post Q: Jay Leno is back in his 11:30 p.m. “Tonight Show” slot, after a disappointing run in prime time and a messy showdown with Conan O`Brien, who briefly replaced him. Can Leno win back his status as king of late night and all-around nice guy? As viewers turn away from the networks, can anyone be expected to dominate an increasingly splintered audience? Are the days of Johnny Carson-like success over?

Whether we`re talking about the media industry or the overall financial infrastructure of the United States, massive change throughout our world is underway. As with all industries, countries and people, those who do the best research, have open and honest communication and empower themselves by making decisions based on today`s market, rather than fear, will be successful.

Rather than asking, “Are the days of Johnny Carson-like success over?” I advocate for asking, “What`s next? Where is this industry headed and how can we bring something unique to this audience?” While I understand the media has very little time to make such decisions, I wonder, based on timing, how much research, open and honest communication has happened with this decision.

If the network is looking for new ways to capture the attention of their viewers, I wonder if they have considered the importance of rebranding, repositioning and trying something new. I wonder if they`ve asked, “What worked? What`s happening? Why are people turning away? Can we appeal to the uncontrollable, while remaining authentic?”

The idea of using Leno`s chin to grab the attention of viewers is old. Change is upon us and reinvention is essential.

Misti Burmeister, Washington Post best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers

Link: https://views.washingtonpost.com/on-success/panelists/misti_burmeister/2010/03/whats_next.html