Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Leno at 10 pm? Say It Aint So!

Well, that explains that. In my previous post, I mentioned that NBC's programming chief, Jeff Zucker has said that NBC may scale back its prime time programming in a bid to save costs. Now, it appears the other shoe has dropped. NBC's answer for the 10 pm hour is to put Jay Leno on before the late news, and to put Conan O'Brien on in Leno's 11:30 pm shot as previously planned.

There are several reasons for doing this. Network executives have noticed in the past couple of years that the 10 pm hour has become a really popular time for DVR owners to watch their time-shifted programs, rather than to watch the shows that air at 10. Putting Leno on at 10 would be monumentally cheaper than producing hour-long dramas like "Law and Order", and it would keep Leno from escaping to another network when his NBC deal expires next year. But this does NOT mean it's a good idea.

The biggest knock on Jay Leno is that he is simply NOT FUNNY... and this will only become more painfully obvious at 10 pm than it ever was after the late local news. Leno's ratings are going to tank, and it's going to be a drag on the other major networks as well, as viewers have even less of a reason to stick around at 10 pm. If NBC is throwing in the towel at 10, can the other nets be far behind?

With the endless onslaught of bad media news in recent weeks, it's getting tougher to find the light at the end of the tunnel... The business model for commercial broadcasting and newspapers is now near total collapse - and even the internet is suffering from a lack of advertising.

Sorry to be Debbie Downer, but... Last one out the door, turn off the lights!

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