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August 28, 2015

What Could NBC Air at 10PM in Jay Leno's Place?

by Gary Susman, posted Jan 8th 2010 3:30PM
The Jay Leno Show premiereGiven the reports that NBC is on the verge of admitting that five nights a week of 'The Jay Leno Show' was a mistake and moving the former 'Tonight Show' host back to late night, how will the network fill five nights of suddenly vacant 10PM programming?

It's been rumored that this move has been in the works for a while, and that it's why NBC has purchased so many series pilots (about 18 of them) in recent weeks. But those shows are meant for the fall season and probably wouldn't be ready to go into full production in time for the March departure of the Leno show. So NBC will have to scramble to fill five hours of primetime programming.

To help the beleaguered network out, we have some suggestions for last-minute replacement programming that can be had on the cheap.

'Friday Night Lights.' The season is already in the can, as DirectTV subscribers know. NBC would just have to bring it back a little sooner than planned.

'Dateline NBC.' Surely there are more predators to catch.

'The Biggest Loser.' They'd have to step up production to make more episodes, but there are plenty of big losers out there that they could put on this show. (Actually, the biggest loser in this whole Jay Leno fiasco is Conan O'Brien. Maybe he could guest star, but if he lost any more weight, he'd disappear entirely.)

'Deal or No Deal.' Please, dear lord, no. But let's face it, why wouldn't they?

'Monk.' Now that the award-winning series has concluded over at NBC sister channel USA, what's it going to do, gather dust in a vault? Why not air the reruns over at NBC for those who never saw Tony Shalhoub's hilarious obsessive-compulsive sleuth? Or for fans going through withdrawal?

'Battlestar Galactica.' Same story as with 'Monk' for this recently completed show on NBC Universal's SyFy channel. Critical praise for the show was astronomical, but few outside its cultish fanbase ever watched. Now is its chance for network exposure.

'Top Chef.' It was already one of the most popular 10PM shows on cable, and it has continued to be a popular timeslot alternative to Leno. Plus, it's on Bravo, so NBC Universal already owns it. And whose chin would you rather look at for an hour, Jay Leno's or Padma Lakshmi's?

'Keeping Up With the Kardashians.' New NBC Universal owner Comcast also owns E!, so this would be an easy switch. Like 'Top Chef,' this one's already a 10PM hit anyway. Plus, the Kardashians are cheap. (Not in that way. Rather, it's cheaper to produce an episode of their show than an episode of pretty much anything else on NBC.) Besides, what on NBC can compete with high drama like this (see clip below)?

An excerpt from the 'Must Love Dogs' episode of 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians'

'Kidnapped.' Anyone remember this drama, about a wealthy Manhattan family (led by Timothy Hutton and Dana Delany) whose son's abduction is investigated by two unorthodox FBI agents (Delroy Lindo and Jeremy Sisto)? NBC aired five episodes in the fall 2006 before yanking the show. It burned off the remaining eight episodes, including the resolution of the case, the following summer on Sundays after midnight. The burn-off wasn't well publicized, and some of us are still wondering how the story turned out. Just sayin'.

'SNL Weekend Update Thursday.' Or Tuesday. Or Friday ...

'The Conan O'Brien Show.' Even though it's giving him the shaft, NBC says it wants to keep him, and he's gotta go somewhere. But what if he finds being booted back to 12:05 after Leno's 'Not The Tonight Show' a humiliating demotion? Well, then, how about a cheaply produced primetime version of 'The Tonight Show' variety hour? The affiliates will love it!

Our dream NBC line-up:

8-9 'Chuck'
9-10 'Heroes'
10-11 'Battlestar Galactica'

8-10 'Biggest Loser: Couples'
10-11 'Top Chef'

8-8:30 'Deal or No Deal'
8:30-9 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians'
9-10 'Mercy'
10-11 'Law and Order: SVU'

8-8:30 'Community'
8:30-9 'Parks and Recreation'
9-9:30 'The Office'
9:30-10 '30 Rock'
10-11 'Monk'

8-9 'Dateline NBC'
9-10 'Friday Night Lights'
10-11' Law & Order'

What do you think NBC should air at 10PM instead of 'The Jay Leno Show'?

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