Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Are Jay Leno's Prime Time Nights Numbered?

The American TV industry magazines are filling up with rumors of Jay Leno's prime time demise.
According to some NBC sources the peacock proud network is dissatisfied with Len's picayune ratings and has ordered up a record 18 new pilots for the fall, an indication Leno's tenure is threatened.
According to The New York Post when Leno goes on hiatus for the Winter Olympics he won't be returning to his 10 p.m. slot but rather back to his old 11:30 p.m. Tonight time.
What this means for Conan O'Brien (currently at 11:30) or Jimmy Kimmel (at 1 .m.) remains unclear.
Leno currently averages 6 million nightly viewers which is unacceptable to the affiliates because 10 p.m. is traditionally the most watched hour of the prime time schedule.
What's apparent is a revolt of NBC affiliates concerned about the disastrously low ratings which are severely impacting their 11 p.m. local news casts.
NBC honcho Angela Bromstad is quoted as saying the network has ordered its most pilots since 2003 to fill the schedule's many holes and helping to rebuild the schedule.
One theory is attributed to Newsday: that NBC will be bumping Leno on Thursdays and Fridays at 10 to make way for its new version of The Rockford Files.
The new owners of NBC have to be dissatisfied with the network's slow prime time ratings decline especially as this is the season ABC and CBS have roared back with a bunch of new hour dramas.
And NBC has a few rapidly aging hits which may not last much longer including The Office and Law And Order.
One theory I've heard calls for Leno to front a single hour variety and talk show next season much as Jack Paar and Steve Allen did after leaving the Tonight Show.
NBC can't allow the situation to slide. Both ABC and CBS are up in the ratings this season because of the NBC slump.

No comments: