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It's official: Jay Leno is being pulled from 10 PM slot - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 10th 2010 2:33PM
Jay Leno ShowIt's NBC day at the TCAs and the juicy NBC executive session is up. Jeff Gaspin, Chairman of NBCU's TV division confirmed that starting February 12, The Jay Leno Show will no longer be on at 10 PM ET. The hope is to have Leno at 11:35, Conan's Tonight Show at 12:05, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 1:05.

However, they're still in discussions with the hosts about this. Gaspin hopes to get the situation settled by the start of the Olympics.

More after the jump.Got to hand it to Gaspin: he was as upfront as he could be with us, and fielded all of our questions. He couldn't go into too many details, but he fielded all of our queries. Here's what he said:

Firstly, the push to move Jay to 11:35 was brought on by the affiliates, who took a look at their November late news ratings and realized how far they had sunk. "The drumbeat was getting louder and louder" from them to make a change. Some affiliates even threatened to pre-empt Jay's show to boost their news ratings. The prospect of Comcast's looming ownership had "zero influence" on his decision.

More from Gaspin:
  • He will "work until the very last second" to fill the 10 pm slots after the Olympics are over. He sees two hours being given to scripted shows, two to reality and one to an expanded Dateline.
  • "I would have liked nothing more than to give Leno a 52-week try," as the network heads said they'd do six months ago. And the show was actually making the network money, according to Gaspin. The affiliates just put too much pressure on them to keep things the way they were.
  • Why would Conan agree to what amounts to a demotion? ""What is important to me is that I gave Conan something that is very important to him, which is The Tonight Show." So, just getting the Tonight Show name is more important to him than the timeslot.
  • The damning quote of the session to me: "I don't think people didn't watch Jay because of quality of show. People have a lot of choice at 10. What happened was there were so many choices people thought were better." Wow. that's not even faint praise.
  • On the reactions of Leno, O'Brien and Fallon to this proposal: They were "incredibly gracious and professional. They understood difficult situation I was in."
  • "I wish we had the time to get Jay and Conan comfortable in their own environments." But they didn't.
  • What about Carson Daly? He "will be part of NBC regardless of what happens."
  • In the scrum, Gaspin felt that a move to 1:05 will give Fallon a chance to experiment more because there will be "less pressure" on him. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement.
  • The affiliates are "just as disappointed" as the network is by Leno's failure. I asked him in the scrum if the objections from the Boston affiliate before Leno aired served as any kind of warning sign that something like this might happen. He flat out said no.
  • When I asked Gaspin if the prospect of either Jay or Conan jumping networks was a reason they came up with this plan, he said that the prospect is always there, and they really want to keep all three hosts on the network if they can.
  • Because the negotiations with the hosts are still "fluid," there's no announcement of any Olympic-related plans the network may have with Conan or any of the others.

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Kip Cricket

If you think Leno's innocent, check out the pattern of treachery, laid bare here:


First he says he's retiring, then he says he never wanted to leave.

January 16 2010 at 4:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Susan Savino

I am one person who never thought that Jay Leno was all that funny. When I heard that Conan O'Brien would be taking over the time slot that Jay Leno had used, I was thrilled. Conan actually makes the audience, as well as the viewers, laugh. Johnny Carson was also funny, but Leno just didn't have it, as far as I was concerned. I won't be watching NBC at that time, from now on, if Jay Leno has won the spot .

January 12 2010 at 1:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the majority of the blame for this goes to the NBC Execs for this one. They have seemingly run this network practically into the ground to the point where it has become a joke. I remember when I was growing up NBC had the best programming there was. Now it's just dumb decision after dumb decision. Everyone is trying to make Leno out to be the bad guy, but I actually liked him and was one of the few that was rooting for him. I think NBC screwed this up by making this deal years ago. I actually feel sorry for Leno, conan and Jimmy cause it seems like they just got caught up in a bad situation that was the result of bad decisions on the execs part.

January 11 2010 at 6:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So now I can watch the Daily Show and Colbert before changing the channel to Conan.

January 11 2010 at 9:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eric H

If he wants to work so bad, but him on after Conan.

January 11 2010 at 9:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked watching Jay Leno's show at 10pm - I liked when he hosted The Tonight Show, but rarely watched because I didn't want to stay up late for it. At 10pm, I could watch his monologue and then go to sleep - because let's face it, the guests were boring.

I don't like Conan O'Brien's show, never have and probably never will. His brand of humor is just a bit too juvenile for me.

Jay moving back to 11:35pm virtually does not affect my viewing habits of NBC shows. Or any other show really. I simply wouldn't want to watch anything at 10pm unless it was a really good show and even then, I would probably just tape it or watch it on Hulu. I think the nature of tv changing is playing a big part in this whole Jay Leno/Conan O'Brien debacle. People have so many choices these days, nobody has to watch anything at the time slots the networks choose.

January 11 2010 at 12:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The biggest loser in all of this is Carson Daly. He wasn't offered the "Late Night" slot at 12:30am, which went to Jimmy Fallon. Although his new format is better for Carson, he will now lose his "Last Call" show.

Conan has been screwed. Yeah, right, "The Tonight Show" name is important, but the time slot is, too.

Jay Leno shouldn't be blamed as much; the part he shouldn't have done is to agree with NBC 6 years ago to give up the "Tonight Show." He tried to be a team player, but got screwed, too. But, the format of "The Jay Leno Show" at 10PM was really awful. It wasn't funny.

This fall, NBC should get some credit in trying something new at 10PM, but the "JLS" wasn't it. All well.

January 10 2010 at 11:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NBC is just an embarassment. They continue to make inept move after inept move. Leno is now a damaged brand. If they push back Conan, they risk losing Conan, and I think they could upset the prize demographic in the process. Do you think fans will simply go back? I think OLDER fans will enjoy Leno, however the whole mess has the potential to collapse around them. And no matter what, they're going to ALIENATE somebody.

In my opinion, NBC should have NEVER put Leno on at 10pm five nights a week. That was a HUGE mistake. To rectify the mistake, they should simply cancel Leno and be done with it. But nothing NBC does surprises me anymore. It's basically following the plan on what to do if you want to run a major network into the ground.

January 10 2010 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Can they now please give Chuck the final three episode order?

January 10 2010 at 9:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Joy To The World!

January 10 2010 at 9:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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