Leno wangles chance to bomb in former slot
January 22, 2010
BURBANK, Calif. (FASTLAUGH.com) — Affiliates 1, NBC 0, Conan $45,000,000.
Shortly after reaching a forty-five million dollar exit deal with Conan O’Brien, and yielding to a withering firestorm from burned affiliates earlier this month, panicked NBC executives yesterday revealed their latest scheme to restore wangling late-night yacker Jay Leno to his former 11:35 p.m. time slot following an ego-busting foray into NBC’s weeknight prime-time slate.
Leno returns to Tonight on March 1 to dish his brand of stale drivel to an ever-shrinking fan-base who will now be ninety minutes more tired than the trickle of watchers he has bored to sleep in prime-time for the last five months.
Deeply perturbed and openly rebellious affiliates have experienced plunging viewership and advertising revenues for their late local newscasts since The Jay Leno Show premiered, despite vehement assurances from NBC that Leno’s move to prime-time would deliver a more robust lead-in audience for their late local newscasts.
Lacking confidence in NBC for its reversal of fortune in primetime, several disgruntled stations sparked NBC’s abrupt flip by threatening to dump The Jay Leno Show entirely, and instead air infomercials and decades-old M*A*S*H reruns during the last hour of primetime each evening as a more dependable lead-in to their late news.
Commenting on his network’s latest face-saving attempt for itself and Leno, Jeff Gaspin, chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment, indicated that “…a large number of affiliates had proposed an alternative scenario to restoring Leno to late-night — one that is actually still being actively considered — that may eventually just have us throwing in the towel and plugging Leno directly into their local late night newscasts as packaged, thirty-second interstitials since it appears that’s the maximum duration he can hold anyone’s interest now.”