Gray TV President Bob Prather summed it up, RBR-TVBR 09/11/09, Leno show is failure and was killing his 10 NBC stations. He said the five nights per week airing of the talk show, which he referred to as “the Leno experiment,” is not working. “It’s definitely hurting as a lead-in” to late local news which account for 10 of the 36 stations in the Gray portfolio.
Now add what Leno said on his show Thursday night as he cracked and wished CBS anchor Katie Couric a happy birthday (video below):
“She left NBC for another network, I gotta give her a call, see how that’s working out.” Leno continued with the jokes like:
“What does NBC stand for? ‘Never Believe your Contract”… and another
“If we are cancelled we can do some traveling.. I heard FOX is beautiful this time of year.”… (drum roll)
The ‘Leno Experiment’ is the feelings of the majority of NBC affiliates and are of the same opinion as Bob Prather. So, it looks like Jay Leno will be out in the 10pm slot and most likely heading back to the 11:30pm slot which will push back ‘Conan O’Brian’ and Jimmy Fallon one half hour each.
But this too will cause problems for late night with Conan O’Brian as his future will rest on NBC’s decision with late night programming and if O’Brian will even stay with NBC.
Reports all over the internet have NBC paying O’Brien about $25 million over the next two years of hs contract.
Negotiations are everything if O’Brien wants out or NBC gets rid of him which reports have a lesser sum of cash will most likely be paid.
Reports across the board and the internet admit that O’Brien can not beat ‘David Letterman’.
NBC executives, namely NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker, has to come to a decision fast and before Thursday, January 21st because that is when the NBC affiliate board members will meet in New York for their annual meeting.
RBR-TVBR’s easy bet: ‘The Leno experiment’ – Turn out the lights but the question will be what will NBC replace it with? Another cheap reality program(s) or will they pop for the cash and develop scripted programming.
RBR-TVBR observation: Go the distance for content as content is king if you control the content. Find a solid scripted program that will build audience and then your affiliates, advertisers, and viewers all win.
Remember we live in a 24/7 mobile download world and viewers love to down load when they get hooked on intense programming.