Monday, October 12, 2009

Is Leno at 10pm Working?

It is still too early to judge whether the NBC experiment, replacing 5 hours of scripted series with a talk show, is genius or stupidity. But rumblings and aftereffects are being felt. One is a scripted series, Southland, that was meant for 10pm but forced to fill a 9 pm slot. It has been quickly cancelled. Another is the ratings at 11pm of the local newscast that follows Jay. "Late newscasts on local stations affiliated with NBC are reporting significant ratings declines, at least partly because of a ratings drop-off in the 10:30 half-hour that precedes them." And third is a drop in ratings of its perennial late-night staple, The Tonight Show. NBC still says it is bullish on The Jay Leno Show and says it needs to be judged over a year in order to measure its success. For NBC, the bottom line measure is the net profit it delivers; despite lower revenues, Jay' much lower costs will give it greater value to NBC. In isolation, that may be true; but, if other shows are also affected and the TOTAL bottom line of NBC is lower because of Jay's ancillary effect on newscasts, syndication, and late night revenue, then it may not be as successful as first thought. Yes NBC, time will tell.

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