Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, January 07, 2021

Looks like NBC’s bold cheap 10PM experiment with “The Jay Leno Show” has crashed and burned, with a scramble-back plan about to take effect:

The network has a plan in the works to restore Jay Leno to his old spot at 11:35 each weeknight for a half-hour, while pushing the man who replaced him, Conan O’Brien, to a starting time of 12:05 a.m. Mr. O’Brien would then have a full hour…

The moves are being driven by pressure from NBC’s affiliated stations, which have seen ratings for their late-night local newscasts plummet since September. That was when NBC began “The Jay Leno Show,” a prime-time version of Mr. Leno’s old late-night show. Mr. O’Brien succeeded Mr. Leno as host of “The Tonight Show” in June.

Though Mr. Leno’s prime-time show has not fallen below the ratings guarantees that NBC gave to advertisers, it has averaged only about five million viewers a night. The NBC station managers have blamed consistently low lead-in audiences for much of the falloff in their news ratings — and local stations rely on news programs for the majority of their revenue. The affiliates are due to meet with NBC on Jan. 21.

Good luck keeping that configuration in place. Chances are good that Leno will instantly start lobbying for a full hour, which will entice O’Brien to ultimately jump ship to a competing offer from FOX. Unless NBC discovers a power to add an extra hour to the clock, there’s simply not enough room to accommodate both personalities.

As for the notion of transforming 10PM into the new gateway for late-night, that was doomed from the start during this era of the DVR:

The upshot of this is that, of course, the 10PM slot and most/all of Friday primetime is a challenge for original network programming. It makes you wonder why NBC is so big on “The Jay Leno Show” to occupy five days’ worth of late-primetime slots. Could they not have seen this viewer-habits trending forming a year ago? Or did they see it, and still gambled on the combination of Leno’s appeal and lower production costs carrying the day?

Obviously, the gamble crapped out. The fallout will follow.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/07/2021 11:51pm
Category: Business, Celebrity, TV
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  1. CONAN TAKES ONE ON (FROM) THE CHIN…

    Well, that didn’t take long. Less than a week after NBC announced its salvage plans to move Jay Leno back to 11:35, Conan O’Brien announced that he’s extracting himself from the network’s resultant late-night traffic jam: Mr. O’Brien’s statement Tuesday…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 01/13/2010 @ 8:09 AM

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