No secret here–network television (and local television) is in sad shape. Our business model continues to deteriorate in this horrible economic climate and in the face of increased competition from the Internet. NBC and the other networks have to do something to remain viable.
Moving Jay Leno to 10:00 PM is a cost saving move. The Tonight Show, even with an enlarged budget, is light years cheaper to produce than scripted episodic television. I would guess the demographics are comparable, maybe even better than episodic fare.
Moving Jay Leno to 10:00 PM lets NBC run a program that it controls 100%. There is no one but Leno to deal with. I’d guess he’s getting a long term commitment.
Moving Jay Leno to 10:00 PM is a defensive move. With Conan O’Brien set to take the 11:35 PM slot there were rumors of Leno jumping to ABC. Obviously, that’s off the table. At this moment, NBC ‘owns’ all the established talk show talent except David Letterman–who has seen much better days.
This is bad news for the Hollywood production community. Five weekly hours of high budget TV will no longer be produced. That will throw a lot of people out-of-work.
How this move do anything but benefit NBC? Even slightly lower ratings than what’s being replaced (if that happens) still has the potential to produce higher net revenue. Whether the affiliates benefit remains to be seen. Over the past decade networks have shown less than unwavering support for their local stations.
Tweeting on Twitter, the Times Brian Stelter says, “Leno at 10 would seem somewhat DVR-proof and Web-proof — a smart move by NBC, right?”
I wonder if he’ll do the show live? He should.