How to make the Jay Leno 10 pm experiment successful, or at least profitable. One is to raise the price to advertise. Another is to lower the costs to produce. Compared to the cost of scripted series, like Law and Order, that currently occupies one or more of those 10 pm blocks, Leno will be inexpensive to produce. But will it be successful and more profitable than a scripted series in that space?
Well to "assure" that success, NBC is reaching down into its distribution world, the local affiliates, for support. “'NBC has promised the affiliates' input into the structure of the show, and we believe this research will help us represent the key drivers that will best flow a Jay Leno viewer into affiliates' local late news,'" says Brian Lawlor of Scripps. "Of course, how much Leno and NBC will listen is up in the air. An NBC network spokesperson declined to comment."
I don't believe that creativity and business should be linked; good creativity may lead to profitable results, but results shouldn't guide creativity. And one rarely sees decision by committee as effective to building a show. Creativity is visionary and tends to come from one, not many. And research will not be useful in rebuilding this show for prime time. It will simply lead to death by survey. What works for 11:30 pm will not necessarily work for 10 pm. At the end of the day, all the local affiliates want is a strong rating that leads into local news, plain and simple.
Rather, think a bit out of the box. Take the creativity in a different direction and create a show that will benefit from the charms and talent of Jay Leno; not a retread of the Tonight Show earlier in the day. That will kill 10 pm and perhaps also hurt the Tonight Show franchise as well.