Leno’s lag starting to bother affiliates


The new Jay Leno Show primetime effort had a good first week. It has not done nearly as well during the other five, and it’s starting to cause restlessness among the NBC herd of affiliates, who have lost viewers compared to last year and whose late news is suffering.

More than anything else, according to the New York Post, is that local stations seem to be complaining about weak lead-in to late night local news programming, which is entirely dependent on ratings, is a major local cost center and needs therefore to be a major local revenue center.

Not that affiliates are happy about the fact that NBC’s abandoned 10PM scripted programming was doing better than Leno is now – of course, that is a direct cause of the 11 PM problem.

The network says Leno’s true benefits will be realized down the road when his fresh material goes up against reruns from the competition. Some are expected to run out of steams and peter out before that time.

NBC says that the Jay Leno Show is a 52-week project and that most affiliates seem to be committed for the long haul.

RBR-TVBR observation: Are we seeing the adage that you can’t save your way to prosperity in action here? It may be acceptable for one schedule segment to divide less revenue by less cost, but not if it’s also dragging down the rest of the schedule.