Sunday, January 10, 2010

NBC's Biggest Loser: Jay, Conan or Jimmy?

American network television gets a major shake up again, as the axe was dropped Sunday on the prime time Jay Leno experiment.

Sunday, NBC facing a revolt from affiliates ran up the white flag of television surrender, suggesting that a change to the late night schedule is now in the offing.

Leno was hinting around the topic on his show on Friday, though he offered no definitive opinion on where his fate may take him in the television talk show cycle.

The Jay Leno show was proclaimed as something akin to a new look for prime time, moving from the traditional 11:30 home of Johnny Carson for so many years to a new look, 10 pm slot that effectively removed the need for NBC to spend money on drama or comedy programs for five spots a week.

However, the viewers it seemed haven't found much to like about the new show, whether it be the time or the content and for the most part the program has tanked, taking with it a valuable lead in to local affiliate news casts at 11 pm.

It's believed that the declining numbers heading into that vital 11 pm slot brought about the revolt and has resulted in Leno's move back to his original time slot of 11:35.

The move to ten was the subject of much discussion prior to this television season, with a good many critics suggesting that doom was in the air for NBC with their decision, and judging by the messy nature of the last few days, all in all the whole episode seems to have put the F into fiasco.
So with retooling in the offing, an apparent half hour show is now said to be the remedy to NBC's Leno woes, however whether Conan O'Brien signs on to that plan remains to be seen. According to some of the Hollywood grapevine he's in line for a gigantic payout if his start time is pushed back one minute past 12:05, or may find that another network (hello Fox) may find this as a perfect time to lure him away.
Regardless some suggest a big payout is coming his way anyways whether as a departure consideration or as a bribe to keep him in the NBC stable.

TMZ has had a little fun with the changing goalposts of O'Briens contract, offering its viewers the chance to help Conan grab that contract before Jay gets his chin in the way again. It seems that the game, much like O'Briens situation is weighted towards the guy with the big chin.

What this does to the other late night Jimmy Fallon however is unknown, though in the scheme of all the late night drama he's appeared to be rather expendable if not irrelevant to the bigger debate.

Suddenly, NBC's giant risk of September has left their entire television schedule in dis-array, something that they will attempt to rebuild after the Vancouver Olympics, when Leno returns to 11:30.
Whether Conan and Fallon hop on board the late night podium, and whether the viewers follow along is something that could prove no shortage of indigestion for NBC's executives. O'Brien's show hasn't developed into the hit that the NBC had probably hoped for, with his material and the audience seemingly not to be in synch judging by the defections over to that other network.

Sitting over at CBS no doubt enjoying all of the theatre of the absurd over at his old employer is one David Letterman the beneficiary of all the confusion and tumult at NBC.
Letterman, who having had his own battles with NBC well documented in the past, surely is feeling just a little bit vindicated with his higher ratings numbers and now an NBC meltdown to deflect away from his personal baggage of last year.

We suspect he's got his feet up on the desk and lighting up one of his trademark cigars as a victory salute.

Globe and Mail-- Jay Leno fiasco a prime-time mistake
Globe and Mail-- Leno experiment comes to an end
Bloomberg News-- NBC Universal’s Zucker Starts Fixing Damage Caused By Leno Move
NPR-- The Critics Prepare To Welcome NBC, Much As Lions Welcome Gazelles
New York Entertainment-- NBC Affiliates Are Thrilled the Leno Is Gone
Boston Herald-- Jay Leno takes it on the chin
Chicago Tribune-- NBC should have heeded affiliates
MSNBC-- Want drama? NBC makes it with ‘Leno’ news
Baltimore Sun-- Why NBC had to pull the plug on prime-time Leno
Huffington Post-- Jay Leno Off 10 PM After Low Ratings, NBC Wants Him Back At Late Night Timeslot

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