Monday, December 08, 2008

NBC Leads With Its Chin

It's not a local media story, but it's big enough to be displayed prominently on the website of the Cleveland station that'll be most directly affected by it.

The not-yet-confirmed news is spreading like wildfire among the various national TV writers this Monday evening.

NBC's late night talk show king Jay Leno, who is scheduled to step down from his post hosting the network's "Tonight Show" next year, won't be leaving that network after all.

The New York Times' Bill Carter is one of many reporting that Leno instead will stay with the Peacock, signing a multi-year deal to host a brand new 10 PM prime time hour that will air Monday through Friday on NBC. (We picked Carter's story because of the key role he's played in reporting Leno's career - remember "Night Shift"?)

Back at the "Tonight Show", current "Late Night" host Conan O'Brien will still take over the 11:35 PM slot on the network next May, and we assume he will still be followed by comedian Jimmy Fallon, who'll take over "Late Night" after a few month "test run" on the Internet. Leno's prime time show would start in Fall 2009.

Though the move, as reported, would give Leno a big pay raise, it would also save NBC Universal some much needed money. As Carter's piece points out, even a highly-paid Jay Leno and his show would cost the network somewhat less than a slate of nightly hour-long dramas, and NBC would now program as many prime-time entertainment hours as FOX (17 hours per week, vs. the current 22 hours).

Just Monday, NBC executives contemplated a reduced schedule of entertainment programming, pointing to newer networks like FOX, MyNetwork TV and The CW not mounting a full three hour (four on Sunday)/seven day schedule like NBC, ABC and CBS have done for decades.

And NBC avoids another putting Leno in prime-time on its own network, it keeps him out of the 11:35 PM slot on, say, ABC, FOX or even on Tribune stations. (Tribune may not be able to afford Leno now, anyway, as it just filed for bankruptcy Monday.)

NBC is reportedly set to announce the deal on Tuesday.

It does have one local effect - Leno, starting in the Fall, will become the lead-in for WKYC's "Channel 3 News at 11" and all the other local late-night NBC affiliate newscasts across the country...


fanofgrendel said...

This is the worst idea since Chevy Chase was given his own talk show! Three talks shows per night? Stinker.

Jeremy S. Moses said...

Speaking of Jimmy Fallon:

NBC launched a new site, The site will have video blogs (which began last night) from Fallon at 12:30am EST each night. NBC's publicist says that they won't be full-length shows, but short, 1-2 minute blogs.

Chuck Matthews Blog said...

Ratings wise, CBS's Craig Ferguson crushes Conan and often beats/ties Kimmel. I love Craig.

Can't say it enough... Conan is atrocious. Ferguson can smile and be funnier than Conan.

Fallon? I give him the same time frame as David Lee Roth after Howard Stern.

Jay will not be able to hang against primetime programming from ABC, CBS and cable. He'd be better off doing specials 4-6 times a year.

Letterman must love that he'll be taking on Conan. A walk in the park.