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January 8th, 2010

Jay Leno Wins Again

Last night’s big news was that NBC was allegedly set to give Jay Leno a show at 11:30 again. This is not a horrible idea.

The scuttlebutt is that NBC will kill The Jay Leno Show (thankfully – what a disaster), and give Leno a new half-hour 11:30-12:00 slot. Conan gets the next hour from 12-1 and then Fallon from 1-2. This is not bad. Here’s why.

First, Conan is tanking on The Tonight Show when you look at all demographics. While Conan’s viewership is younger, Letterman’s reruns (reruns!) beat new Conan episodes back in August. Letterman’s been in the news a lot with the Palin comment, an Obama appearance and oh yeah, that whole sleeping with coworkers thing; none of this, amazingly, has hurt him in ratings.

Given that, NBC needs a life preserver. I suspect Conan wouldn’t skew over to Leno’s style of comedy (although Tonight is softer than Late Night) so a unique idea is to get the big guns going against Letterman again. Who can do that? Well, Leno can. It’s very likely that he’ll regain everyone that Conan lost, maybe more, and could turn that sinking ship around.

Assuming Leno’s show is just a monologue and a few comedy bits with no interviews, that pits Leno’s monologue against Letterman’s. Leno then tag teams Conan, and he comes in for a full hour. His first half hour almost wins by default unless Letterman has a big-name guest – people would likely choose to see another monologue, right? – and the second half-hour against Ferguson is anyone’s guess.

Of course, this doesn’t account for Colbert. I suspect his fans may also like Conan, and thus, everyone wins.

All in all, though, I give NBC a little credit for deciding to just change the time slots around a bit. I’d still be peeved if I were Conan – this devalues The Tonight Show – but if you’re NBC, and you’re looking at pure ratings, it’s not a bad idea.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

Paul January 8, 2010, 12:16 pm

I’d like to add that I don’t think it’s a terrible idea from a pure short-term business perspective… but man, it shows just how little NBC is willing to gamble on new show development. No boffo ratings in a few months? Too bad, you get canned. But that’s how network TV goes.

Ryan January 8, 2010, 3:12 pm

Seriously. I mean, remember when NBC s-canned us after one two episodes of The Show of Ping? I mean, come on… who could have guessed that toilet plunging demos in prime time wouldn’t grab ratings…

Paul January 8, 2010, 4:14 pm

Ryan, I told you we should have signed with Fox. They LOVE poop!

Dave Walls January 8, 2010, 4:51 pm

Paging, Mr. O’Brien. Please pick up the ABC courtesy phone…

Seriously, this is such a slap in the face to Conan. Leno says he wants to retire, they give Conan “Tonight”, only to have Leno come on earlier and steal his thunder. Now, despite Jay Leno sinking every NBC affiliate’s lead-in for the 11pm news, they’re willing to just give him his old time slot back?

Someone nudge Bill Carter and see if they can get him to start writing “Late Shift 2”.

Paul January 8, 2010, 5:18 pm

Craig Ferguson’s take on this – good stuff:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3cjCaGYrCc

Dave Walls January 8, 2010, 8:58 pm

Re: “The Show of Ping”

I told you that you shoulda done the “very special episode” with Raven-Symone.

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