“Can we continue to broadcast 22 hours in primetime? Three of our competitors don’t,” Zucker told the annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in Manhattan. “Can we continue to broadcast seven days a week? One of our competitors doesn’t.”
The statements may be true, Jeff (and I feel like I’m channeling a little Frank Miller here) but you are the Goddamn Nation Broadcasting Network. The network that in the past SET THE TRENDS, not followed them. Someone at GE needs to wake up and get the current powers that be out of there before the network of my youth ends up gone. And at this rate, it may be sooner than later.
As much as I don’t care for Jay Leno, it’s an incredibly smart move for NBC, particularly in the short run.
Yes, it’s probably not great for Conan, but it beats the alternative, which would have been going head-to-head with Leno’s new show on ABC or FOX. And Conan finishing in third place in the time slot would not be good for him or NBC.
An incredibly smart move for NBC due to:
1) them having money problems so bad they had to layoff 500 and ask some of their stars to take pay cuts PLUS losing most of their 10pm shows to either poor ratings or shows closing up their doors ( a la ER )
2) 5 hours of Leno costs a FRACTION of 5 hours of primetime shows
3) Leno brings in viewers – and they were mighty scared they’d lose him to an opposing network – they get to keep a sure thing
4) babyboomers who are Leno’s core audience- are getting too old to keep up past 11:30, will more likely tune into Leno at 10pm
5) no one knows how well Conan will do at 11:30 – chances are it won’t be as well as Leno did
That all being said – Conan got screwed. All that really happened was that he inherited the TONIGHT SHOW title and timeslot, but not really the show. Leno continues to do his pablum-fed version of the Tonight SHow to delighted audiences at 10pm, increasing the level of mediocrity in the 10pm hour. Amongst it’s competitors – FOX already doesn’t have 10pm programming and CBS and ABC are likely to counter-program by airing newsmagazine and reality shows in the same slot. More than likely, LENO at 10 – will have increased ratings due to nothing more than being filler material for channel flippers. If it does well at 10pm – be sure that Letterman and Kimmel will be joining him in that slot real soon.
NBC kept their deal with Conan – they just didn’t keep to the spirit of the deal, which was being tossed the mantle by Leno.