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Should Leno have been axed, or continued on in prime time?

posted 1/11/2010 5:47:05 PM |
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tagged: tv, people, entertainment, straddle

*Some affiliate stations complained that Jay Leno's show led fewer viewers into late news programs.*
PASADENA, Calif. -- NBC said yesterday that it decided to pull the plug on the Jay Leno experiment when some affiliate stations considered dropping the nightly prime-time show, and the network is waiting to hear whether Leno and Tonight host Conan O'Brien accept its new late-night TV plans.

The Jay Leno Show, which airs at 10 p.m. EST, will end with the Feb. 12 beginning of the Winter Olympics, said Jeff Gaspin, chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment. Leno would return to his former 11:35 p.m. slot after the Olympics end under the network's new plan, which calls for O'Brien to retain his job with The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien but at the later hour of 12:05 a.m. EST.

Jimmy Fallon and his Late Night with Jimmy Fallon also would be pushed a half-hour later, to 1:05 a.m. EST.

"My goal is to keep Jay, Conan and Jimmy as our late-night lineup," Gaspin said, adding later that the hosts "have the weekend to think about it" and discussions will resume today.

NBC had moved Leno to prime time last year in order to keep him from leaving the company and keep a promise it had made to give O'Brien the Tonight show. The change was one of the most dramatic in prime-time television in a generation. It also was a roll of the dice at a time that NBC was suffering in prime time.

Gaspin said the proposal gives Leno what's important to him -- telling jokes at a later hour -- and O'Brien his top priority, retaining Tonight.

"I hope and expect that before the Olympics begin, we'll have everything set. I can't imagine we won't have everything in place before then," Gaspin told a meeting of the Television Critics Association.

Gaspin said that despite lower ratings for NBC at 10 p.m. compared with last year, the network was making money off Leno's show.

But affiliates were upset that it was leading fewer viewers into their late news programs, costing them significant advertising revenue.

Gaspin said about one-third of the affiliates were really hurt by the Leno show, although he wasn't clear on how many said they might pre-empt his show.

The change would be a great move for NBC stations, the networks and viewers, said Michael J. Fiorile, president and chief operating officer of The Dispatch Printing Company and -- through the company's ownership of an NBC affiliate in Indianapolis -- chairman of the NBC Television Affiliates Board.

"We admire their willingness to innovate, and their willingness to change course when it didn't work for us," Fiorile said.

Asked whether O'Brien and Fallon expressed anger at his proposal, Gaspin said both were professional and understanding when they talked. "Beyond that, it was a private conversation," Gaspin said.

As for reports that Fox might be considering courting O'Brien for a late-night program, Gaspin repeated his desire to keep him, Leno and Fallon at NBC.

From the AP and the Columbus Dispatch


Do you think this was the perfect move for NBC to make, or do you think that they should have left everything as is? Should they go ahead a put Leno back for a full hour (11:35-12:35am est.) on The Tonight Show instead of the half hour show?

Love to hear all feedback on what NBC should and should not do with Leno, O'Brien, and Fallon. What would you do if you made the call?

I would move Leno back into the hour time slot of The Tonight Show. As for O'Brien and Fallon, not a fan of either one, so I wouldn't care if either of them got canceled.

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Jan 11 @ 5:58PM  
Leno sucks. Leno sucks and is not funny. Neither is Fallon or Conan, but those two have a younger audience to pander to and can breath fresh air into NBC's floundering schedule.

Leno is for oldsters who aren't comfortable with letting go of Carson's ghost.

Jan 11 @ 6:00PM  
'The View' where everyone is obscure.
True, except Elizabeth Hasselback is the only one from that show that's pretty cool and intelligent.

Jan 11 @ 6:03PM  
Neither is Fallon or Conan, but those two have a younger audience to pander to and can breath fresh air into NBC's floundering schedule.

Leno is for oldsters who aren't comfortable with letting go of Carson's ghost.
Most of the ratings went down when O'Brien took over The Tonight Show. Most of the older generation(s) left, and the younger audience ratings just isn't cutting it for O'Brien.

Jan 11 @ 6:10PM  
Personally? I think all of them should be hoist on the same petard.

Jan 11 @ 6:29PM  
I don't watch the late shows (though I used to). I wonder who there demographic is.

I hate Leno. I don't find him funny at all. Whenever he interviews a foriegn guests I find him to be borderline racist. And his musical guests are typical mainstream pop acts I've heard too much already. If I recall correctly, before he got dumped from the Tonight Show, he was hemoraging viewers at a fairly steady clip. The Leno experiment has been successful in large part because of it gets steady advertisement and has had several high profile guests going on it for image rehabilitation (Kanye West after the VMAs comes to mind)

Conan is a personal favorite of mine. I remember him from back when he turned The Simpsons from a great show to a legendary one. His humor is obscure and wacky, which I like. And I used to really like his show. If I understand correctly Late Night has a main stream audience and the later show is for insomniacs and people in college. (I have no confidence in this, its just a slightly educated guess) If that's so, it would explain why he doesn't do well in the current time slot.

When Johnny Carson left (rumor has it), Jay Leno stabbed David Letterman in the back for the show. This caused Letterman to go over to CBS (is that right?), where Letterman has lower ratings but has recieved the lionshare of critical cache. Again, I don't really watch these shows, so I don't know if I would call Letterman funny. But he has a history of giving good bands (or atleast bands I like) the musical guest slot. He was the first to show the Foo Fighters and had the Pixies (my favorites) on, to name a couple.

Rumors also had it that Conan essentially forced Leno out of his show. Anyway, I was glad to see the chinned wonder go. Best solution, IMO, sack Jay. Move Conan back to a later slot and give Johnny's show over to Letterman.

Jan 11 @ 6:32PM  
I was always a Johnny Carson fan. When he left I quit watching a lot of the late night shows. I used to watch Letterman after Carson. Letterman is no longer funny to me these days.

Jan 11 @ 6:51PM  
Tonight show just isn't the same with Leno gone. Conan is boring, and I've never seen Fallon. So yeah, I say put Leno back on the Tonight Show.

Jan 11 @ 7:16PM  
the big three (at this the big four with the CW being the fourth)
Can't forget about Fox.

Jan 11 @ 7:21PM  
d'oh. I don't know how I overlooked that 'un.

Jan 11 @ 7:35PM  
GE is looking to rebuild their financial division (traditionally the meat and taters of the company) and they're trying to be the largest player in the green sector. Hence dropping NBC. So it's a win for them just getting rid of NBC.

I don't like the deal, since I don't the content provider and distributor being the same person. Then again, nobody asks me about these things.

I seem to recall seeing/reading an article about cable compainies going after content providers. Hasn't there been enough media consolidation.

younger viewers interested in the late night talk show format will tune into Comedy Central

Good point. To take it one step further, judging by Adult Swims regularly impressive market share for the males 18-35 demo, I'd say the market has spoken. They're either watching the Daily Show/Colbert Report or Adult Swim. The younger crowd just doesn't like the late night talk show format.

Jan 11 @ 7:47PM  
Coincidentially, The more time you spend watching TV, the greater your risk of dying at an earlier age -- especially from heart disease, researchers found.

Jan 11 @ 7:48PM  
Conan is a personal favorite of mine. I remember him from back when he turned The Simpsons from a great show to a legendary one.

Imagine my surprise when I found out he was a writer for the Simpsons!

Jan 11 @ 8:04PM  
1. Letterman
2. Nightline
3. Bedtime

End of story.

Jan 11 @ 9:14PM  
Fox News retained its #1 spot, averaging more total viewers in Monday-Sunday primetime

Of course they did, they always do, they brag about it all the time (as do any networks when they are top rated for something). But they key word is "primetime". That changes things a bit to say the least. How many people do most folks know that watch the news in prime time? I know a couple...maybe, but then again they listen to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannidy on the radio during the day also.

Mainstream America, if they even watch the news, view it around six and/or ten in the evenings. Figures like that just give me an indicator of how may right wing zealots there are.

Jan 11 @ 9:45PM  
I can believe those numbers on Fox, but that is not Fox News, completely different channels. Do you consider Homer Simpson to be an anchorman on Sunday evenings?

I am still waiting for a point of relevance. My point is that the majority of people don't have any interest in prime time news. Show me something valid to disprove that statement.

Jan 11 @ 10:14PM  
BTW, in a related story, Sarah Palin has signed a deal with Fox news to be a commentator, you betcha! She has a degree in Journalism and has worked in TV news.

Jan 11 @ 11:19PM  
I understand things quite clearly so does does the commentator above you. You have about as much of point and content within it as a ping pong ball.

Jan 12 @ 12:24AM  
the Simpsons.....
The show was good in the beginning, but I think it's run it's course.

Jan 14 @ 6:50PM  
Lopez is popular around these parts. Here, at least, his audience isn't all Latino. In fact everybody I've heard talk about him is WF between say 25-40.

I've enjoyed his stand-up but never seen either of his shows.

Jan 15 @ 12:47AM  
Leno is for oldsters? He never took Carson's place. nobody could. Carson is one of a kind. I am not a Leno fan. I am a Letterman fan, but if Carson was still on, I would be a Carson fan. Anyhoooo...I really could care less if any of them stay around much longer. They al seem to be boo ha hain each other and themselves in the process and it is getting really old.

Jan 15 @ 1:11PM  
With the exception of Simpsons and football, How is FAUX/Fox a winner???

Day Program Network Rating/Share Viewers
1 NFL Playoff Game 2 NBC Saturday 18.0/30 32,124,000
2 Citi BCS Championship Game ABC Thursday 17.2/28 30,776,000
3 NFL Playoff Game 2 Pre-Kick NBC Saturday 15.6/27 26,978,000
4 NFC Wildcard Post Game FOX Sunday 14.0/22 25,180,000
5 NCIS CBS Tuesday 12.9/20 21,372,000
6 NCIS: Los Angeles CBS Tuesday 11.0/17 18,070,000
7 Citi BCS Championship Pre-Game ABC Thursday 10.0/16 17,278,000
8 The Simpsons FOX Sunday 8.0/12 14,624,000
9 Desperate Housewives ABC Sunday 8.8/13 14,025,000
10 The Good Wife CBS Tuesday 9.0/15 13,975,000
11 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl NBC Monday 8.2/13 13,819,000
12 Two And A Half Men CBS Monday 7.2/11 11,954,000
13 The Biggest Loser NBC Tuesday 7.0/11 11,740,000
14 The Simpsons Special FOX Sunday 6.1/9 11,429,000
15 The Mentalist CBS Thursday 7.3/12 11,012,000
16 FedEx Orange Bowl FOX Tuesday 6.8/11 10,879,000
17 The Big Bang Theory CBS Monday 6.6/10 10,868,000
18 People's Choice Awards CBS Wednesday 6.8/11 10,814,000
19 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit CBS Wednesday 6.8/11 10,585,000
20 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ABC Sunday 6.0/9 10,549,000

All numbers above based upon live viewing plus same day DVR viewing.

Jan 16 @ 4:28PM  
17 The Big Bang Theory CBS Monday 6.6/10 10,868,000

I freaking LOVE that show!!! It is too funny!!!

Jan 25 @ 3:58AM  
I was always a Johnny Carson fan. When he left I quit watching a lot of the late night shows.

This statement sums it up for me.

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Should Leno have been axed, or continued on in prime time?