Thursday, January 07, 2010

Ahhhh ... We called it ... Leno moving back to 11:30

Oh boy, did we beam a big smile when the NYT News Alert dropped in the mailbox, shouting "NBC Plan Would Move Leno to Late Nights."

Seems that there be some shakin' up goin' on at 30 Rockefeller, and as the TMZ headline says, "NBC Shakeup -- Jay Leno Comes Out on Top."

The Winter Olympics are going to kill off the 10 pm disaster that Leno helmed, and, when the network comes back, it's "Hereeeeee's Jay" at 11:30.

And while NBC officially said no final decision on the plan had been made, two senior NBC executives who had talked to the top management about the moves said that under the plan being discussed, Mr. Leno would definitely shift back to 11:35 but in a half-hour format, while Mr. O’Brien would slide back his start time by a half hour and then produce an hourlong show.

But, in an earlier post, Carter had this:

Mr. O’Brien, meanwhile, has seen his own ratings suffer. He has trailed the CBS late-night star David Letterman by about two million viewers a night. Mr. Leno had easily been the winner in that time period previously.

Me smells the Godfather/Clemenza treatment coming up for Conan:

How's Conan? ... Oh, Conan. You won't see him no more.

Whether putting Jay Leno back at 11:30, if that's what they decide to do, is the right move or not -- that remains to be seen. It's certainly depressing, content-wise, for those of us who greatly prefer O'Brien's style to Leno's and hoped that when this all went kablooey, Jay would be the one who moved on. In any event, a couple of the network's executives are about to face a giant room full of TV critics, so they're going to wind up having to say something.

Now, The Retro Part (and, remember, from above, Conan's shrinking ratings).

But here's the unspoken reason NBC was so hot to do this deal:

They wanted Leno in the house, as a safety valve, should Conan O'Brien crash and burn moving from his off-beat 12:30 am time-slot to the primo 11:30 Tonight Show shrine.

Leno establishes the 10 pm time-slot, makes it workable, and then, after some major ego pampering, and dancing-on-eggshells PR, Leno bumps back to the 11:30 pm Tonight Show to pull it out of the ratings (i.e. losing money) ashes.


This time, they're keeping Leno in the house, as a "just in case."

And don't think Conan O'Brien doesn't know it.

Jesus, he has Leno staring at him for an hour before he goes on.

Pressure? ... What pressure?

Now, if the Olympics really end up sucking ...

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

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  • It doesn't matter what time he's on, I still won't watch him.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 1:50 AM  

  • I'm pleased! I'll watch Leno until Midnight and go to bed then.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:18 AM  

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