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Jay's Car Show

Gearing up for a sitcom

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When Tonight Show host Jay Leno set out to develop a TV series drawing on his days working at a car dealership, he ran into a snag: Car advertisers would surely balk at any negative mentions of their vehicles. The solution? Set the sitcom — tentatively titled Second Gear — at a dotcom that sells a bunch of brands. ”It’s hard to do a car-dealership show on TV,” says Leno, whose Tonight contract with NBC was recently renewed through 2005. ”If you’re doing jokes about people turning back odometers and how bad the car is, they’ll say, ‘I’m sorry, you can’t use our car.”’ The show’s characters will work on a lot where buyers pick up the cars they’ve purchased online. The series — which may be linked to a real-world website — is in development at CBS for the fall (NBC passed). ”We’re writing a script now,” says Leno, who isn’t sure if he’ll appear on the show. It’s too early to know if Second Gear will earn a spot on the CBS schedule. Says Leno optimistically, ”This is a Taxi type of situation.” Fare enough.