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Leno moves nightly to primetime


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162 replies to this topic

#1 of 163 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted December 08 2008 - 06:33 PM

NBC gives up on scripted drama in the 10PM EST time slot, and Leno stays with NBC, moving his program to a nightly slot in primetime after May.

Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily SURPRISE! NBC Will Give Leno 10 PM Slot; Keeps #1 Late Night Host Away From ABC But Creates Talk Show Format Fatigue?

This gives Conan the Tonight Show, and Leno a new enterprise.. or is it just another shot toward the death of scripted shows?

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#2 of 163 OFFLINE   DavidJ

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Posted December 08 2008 - 06:35 PM

Wow. Not sure what I think of this.

#3 of 163 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted December 08 2008 - 07:23 PM

This will leave NBC with just 17 hours of "traditional" programming per week(!)

Considering how poorly NBC has done developing new hit shows the past two years (Bionic Woman,Knight Rider,et al.) this is probably a "win-win" for everybody involved:

1. Conan doesn't have to worry about Leno going to a competing network and possibly establishing a new show in the same 11:30 EST time slot.

2. Leno gets an energizing and innovative high profile new concept show with (presumably) a raise. And make no mistake about it: Even if he keeps his current format just the fact that the show will be airing in primetime makes it a new concept. (I would expect, though, that there will be some kind of different "variation on a theme" for each night in order to distinguish the "Monday" Leno from the "Thursday" Leno.)

3. NBC will be able to provide a stable primetime show even during the months of December, January, March, and April. Most major network primetime scripted shows air new episodes only sporadically during those months. It will also be interesting to see what this show does during June, July, and August.

4. NBC can now be much more selective in developing new scripted primetime shows. And if they develop a show that obtains good critical reviews but has poor initial ratings they can afford to be a little more patient in allowing the show to find its audience.

5. NBC will now have a prime time "anchor" to allow for the promoting of their other primetime programming. This year only Sunday Night Football was able to fill that role.

It's really going to be interesting to see how ABC and CBS counter program this time slot!
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#4 of 163 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted December 08 2008 - 08:29 PM

I guess since "America's late night leader" can't do anything right in primetime, it's changing the rules of the game and extending "late night" into primetime...

#5 of 163 OFFLINE   pitchman

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Posted December 09 2008 - 01:26 AM

I dunno about this... Definitely seems like a stop-gap measure. It may work for a while over the summer, but come fall, I think it will dive in the ratings.

Since I don't watch Leno in late night, this just gives me one LESS reason to tune into NBC in prime time. As it is now, the only NBC programs I watch regularly are 30 Rock and Medium (when it returns.)
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#6 of 163 OFFLINE   todd stone

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Posted December 09 2008 - 01:44 AM

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#7 of 163 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted December 09 2008 - 02:12 AM

Well, this will certainly sort out some of my 10pm DVR conflicts. I wonder how long it can last, though - ABC crashed hard after a year or so of filling their entire schedule with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. I also seem to recall that for as hard-fought as some of the late night battles are, the stakes aren't really that high - The Tonight Show's ratings are nice for midnight, but does that translate to prime time?
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#8 of 163 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted December 09 2008 - 05:07 AM

Interesting news - will be fun to see what the 10 pm version is like. Will Jay have to tone down his "wilder than Howard Stern" zany comedy?

The whole plan of replacing him was the dumbest idea in years- just look at the ratings.

#9 of 163 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted December 09 2008 - 05:58 AM

Quote:
Will Jay have to tone down his "wilder than Howard Stern" zany comedy?

Must be in jest. Considering the $$ it would take for this deal - remember, ABC was holding out the money for Jay to switch networks and take over their 11:30 slot, I have a feeling Jay's position at 10PM is fairly secure for a while; it will be a relatively low budget programming which means returns don't have to be huge, and the money that is being guaranteed to Leno will make it difficult to axe.

I'm betting his buyout options are not small. Just a guess, but I think this may stay for more then a short whle.

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#10 of 163 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

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Posted December 09 2008 - 09:01 AM

I think this news is just pathetic. For the network to give up on prime time, and for Leno to not just go away quietly (like Carson did).

I also think it will really hurt Conan's audience. Who wants to watch a talk show, a half hour of the news and then stay up for ANOTHER talk show, with lesser guests? Leno in prime time will get the major stars for NBC, and Conan will get the same guests he gets today.

It should help Letterman.

I read Jeff Zucker's statement saying how difficult it is to program 22 hours and just laughed. The networks have given up on Saturday nights for years. Friday is just news programming or lesser shows. Sunday is football. That leaves only 4 days, 12 hours a week. Is that THAT difficult to fill?

The 1970's had 7 nights a week of programming. So did most of the 1980's. These network programmers must be really lazy and uncreative to pull stunts like this.

#11 of 163 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted December 09 2008 - 09:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Martin
I also think it will really hurt Conan's audience. Who wants to watch a talk show, a half hour of the news and then stay up for ANOTHER talk show, with lesser guests? Leno in prime time will get the major stars for NBC, and Conan will get the same guests he gets today.
I think the show is primarily aimed at people that go to bed around 11 and don't stay up for The Tonight Show anyway.

#12 of 163 OFFLINE   Scott_J

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Posted December 09 2008 - 11:23 AM

This is obviously a cost-cutting move by NBC but I think it'll backfire on them. Yes, Leno has a decent-sized audience at 11:30 - against Letterman and Nightline. How will his show do when it has to face real competition? If I were running CBS or ABC, I'd move their highest-rated show on 1 or 2 nights to 10:00. Make it that much harder for this to work for NBC.

#13 of 163 OFFLINE   Scott Hanson

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Posted December 09 2008 - 01:43 PM

Ho-hum. Can't believe people still watch Leno at 11:30, let alone in prime time.

#14 of 163 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted December 09 2008 - 02:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Martin
I think this news is just pathetic. For the network to give up on prime time, and for Leno to not just go away quietly (like Carson did).

I think it's pathetic that anyone suggests Leno should go away. Why should he go away? Because he is #1 in late night?

Carson retired voluntarily after almost 30 years on the job. Leno (at least before this 10 pm thing came up) was basically being pushed out the door so someone else with lower ratings could have his job.

Pushing Leno aside for Conan is what is really pathetic.

Huge difference there!

Certainly Carson could have kept the job longer if he had wanted it.

NBC is not giving up on prime time. Leno is not going to be on 3 hours a night or 7 nights a week.

#15 of 163 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted December 09 2008 - 03:19 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Bolus
This will leave NBC with just 17 hours of "traditional" programming per week(!)
First upward-failing NBC uni chief Jeff Zucker sticks Matt-Lauer-in-training David Gregory at "Meet the Press" so they'll have him for Today down the line, and then he gives away seven hours of primetime a week to rectify his poor decision to force Leno out of "The Tonight Show" at a ratings high. The real question at this point is: Will GE finally wise up and fire him, or will he only leave when there's no NBC left?

I don't think it's the worst decision to come out of this regime, but it's absolutely a consequence of previous failures that make late night numbers look attractive in prime-time. Since Zucker forced out Kevin Reilly (who brought the few hits NBC has had in recent years to the network), they've yet to find a scripted show that connects with audiences. By knocking the available time down to 17 hours (but essentially ten hours of high-profile time), NBC can cut its losses and consolidate the best of what they've got left into a leaner, meaner schedule. If nothing else, it will bring costs down.

#16 of 163 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted December 10 2008 - 12:05 AM

So will NBC cancel its Law & Order shows, which run at 10pm? Or does the entire lineup get shuffled, moved an hour earlier, and the weakest performing shows canned?

#17 of 163 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted December 10 2008 - 01:18 AM

I gather the only Law & Order that's safe is Special Victims Unit, which I imagine will probably get a 9pm slot somewhere; the original might finally come to an end, as its ratings have been sinking ever since CSI:NY showed up and there's an argument that bouncing it around the schedule hasn't helped. Or it might head to cable with Criminal Intent.

The May upfronts are going to be interesting for NBC this year, as either their schedule will be nigh-impossible to crack or there will be a complete bloodbath with nothing but SVU, the Thursday comedies, The Biggest Loser and maybe Heroes safe.
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#18 of 163 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

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Posted December 10 2008 - 01:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF
So will NBC cancel its Law & Order shows, which run at 10pm? Or does the entire lineup get shuffled, moved an hour earlier, and the weakest performing shows canned?

They take what works from the existing schedule, move them into the 8-10 time slot, and cancel everything else.

#19 of 163 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted December 10 2008 - 02:52 AM

Quote:
NBC is not giving up on prime time. Leno is not going to be on 3 hours a night or 7 nights a week.


No, not three hours a night. But five days a week, 1 hour a night. So.. you're still talking about lowering their M-F programmable hours from 15 to 10. You've also got a Sunday night commitment (NFL). which means NBC has fewer programmed hours of programming then anyone, and scripted programming will be at a stop.

Let's say they do this:

Known to be gone already: ER (last season), Lipstick Jungle (Dead), Crusoe (Dead), Knight Rider (no renewal), My Own Worst Enemy (Dead), Kath & Kim (Dead)

Coming back likely: Chuck, 30 Rock, The Office, Biggest Loser, My Name is Earl, Dateline, Deal or No Deal

On the Fence: Law & Order SVU (ratings down), Law & Order (ratings eh but cheap), Heroes (ratings mixed but cost very high)

So, as it sits, they have 5 1/2 hour of programming that they know is coming back. This is how bad their schedule is. I think L&O: SVU at least will come back, just to fill some time.. they could do that and come out with 2 new pilots and 1 new comedy and call it a slate.

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#20 of 163 OFFLINE   pitchman

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Posted December 10 2008 - 05:58 AM

How long is the Direct TV/NBC Friday Night Lights deal for? I thought it was for more than one season. NBC can also plug that in somewhere next season at little or no cost to them. Plus, they could bring back Medium, which can still deliver decent numbers in demo, as well as a more upscale audience than a lot of their other programming.
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