NBC pulls Jay back to Late Night

30 Rock, NBC HQ, New York
NBC finally pulled the plug on the Jay Leno Show at 9p Central.

Here’s a more in-depth article on the deal from Sunday.

It was a bad idea from the beginning as my friend Alan Campbell put it, “I struggle with the networks’ logic. Whenever they schedule the same show every night of the week, they automatically cede viewers who don’t like that specific show to the other networks. Same thing when they take a popular show and run it three, or more, times a week until it has no life left.”

I agree. I’ve never been a fan of Jay Leno’s program. His work ethic was good and well talked about. I do like the fact that Jay went to nearly every NBC affiliate when he got the Tonight Show job back in the early 90s. He’s got a working man’s mentality to him.

NBC didn’t want to get burned again and lose their 1130 guy to another network when Dave Letterman went to CBS. I’ve always liked Dave and still watch his show.

But, NBC was trying to make economic sense of the comedy line up. NBC is known for taking something that works and stretching into something more. Not into a new show, but more of a good thing.

Anyone remember SuperSized Comedies? Friends, Will and Grace? Normally 30 minutes they were stretched into 40 or 45 minutes to make two shows last longer. Shows that were between them in the line up were not developed well, so NBC just tried to keep their shows that worked on the air longer and over more ratings periods. In the end, NBC stopped developing good new shows and once the good horses stopped producing, they were in trouble.

Quick. Name a current NBC Comedy.

Quick. Name 3 current NBC shows.

Thought so.

Ambulance bay, "ER" set, Warner Brothers Studio, 2005

NBC thought producing Jay at 9 would save money. It did. Jay’s show did cost less than making a new ER, Heroes or St. Elsewhere.

But the affiliates were screaming. They were losing lead in eyeballs. There late night newscasts, the bread and butter of the sales department, was losing out on lead in viewers.

When the rest of your prime-time line up is bad, you tend to be less forgiving if on a couple of nights you have a good lead in. But, that wasn’t happening.


2 thoughts on “NBC pulls Jay back to Late Night

  1. At the expense of NBC’s crumbling entertainment reputation the Writers Guild has grained some ground here.
    Pushing Jay’s show to prime time muted the work of writers and lesser extent actors.
    Unfortunately NBC will probably fill the hour with another terrible weight loss reality show that promotes a delirious false reality that if we work hard, set goals, and don’t give up we can be thin…but only if we quit our lives, get on a reality TV show and train 60’s a week…
    Anyways, NBC has given themselves a chance at winning over viewers but they should invest in their writers if they too want to gain back some ground.

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