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Weekend To-Do List

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Jay Leno’s vast car collection drives down costs in new show

LOS ANGELES — Hiring Jay Leno to host the eight-part series “Jay Leno's Garage” is saving CNBC tons of money. That's because Leno will be able to feature many of his own vehicles — 135 cars and 117 motorcycles — in making the series that's based on the former “Tonight Show” host's obsession with cars.

The majority of the savings come in insurance premiums.

“Usually when you do these kind of car shows and you get an expensive car, there is an insurance waiver and you can only drive it around the driveway and you have to go around the cones and there are police protecting it,” Leno says. “But since I own a lot of these cars, we can just beat the crap out of them.”

One example of how staggering insurance fees can be: Steve McQueen's XJSS Jaguar, valued at $60 million, would have an insurance premium for one day of $900,000.

That kind of cost would cripple most TV budgets. That's why Leno has opened his garage doors for the production.

The series won't just be Leno and a special guest cruising around in a fancy car. Each one-hour episode features a mix of stunts, challenges, reviews and celebrity interviews that showcase the colorful history of the automobile.

Leno's collection reflects that history. His collection ranges from a 1909 Baker electric car that goes 80 miles on a charge to his most recent purchase, a Tesla that goes 300 miles on a charge. He loves that despite the cars being a century apart in age, they both basically use the same technology.

A question about the size of his collection gets a joke from Leno.

“It's cheaper than coke and hookers,” Leno says. “I look at Charlie Sheen and his hobbies. He's almost broke. My hobby is fine, and plus, my wife doesn't hate me when I get home.”

There's more than just a mechanical history to the cars Leno owns. Each vehicle has a story that is personal to the former talk show host.

He once bought a 1951 Hudson despite having one in his collection. Leno looked at the car at the request of a 96-year-old woman who bought the car with her husband when it was new. It was the only car they owned. After the death of her husband, the car had been placed in storage.

Leno bought the car and told her he would give her a ride in it when it was refurbished. That ride created a friendship that lasted until the woman died at age 101.

Hulu takes “casual” approach

The latest comedy to join the growing list of original programming on the streaming service Hulu is “Casual.” The series looks at a bachelor brother and his newly divorced sister living under one roof again. Together, they coach each other through the crazy world of dating while raising her teen daughter.

Tommy Dewey, Michaela Watkins and Tara Lynne Barr star.

“Casual” creator, Zander Lehmann, explains the title is vague on purpose.

“I think the title refers to casual in all parts of life, not just sex, not just with family. I think this family interacts in a way that we haven't really seen on television before,” Lehmann says. “They are open about things. They talk about everything. They share these experiences in a not too serious way. But it's also they get into serious problems, too, and I think part of it is no matter how bad the situation is, they always would come back together and love each other.”

“Jay Leno's Garage”

10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, CNBC


Wednesday, Oct. 7, Hulu

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