Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NBC and Jay Leno: Is it time to pull the plug?

As we all know, NBC took a gamble by devoting 5 hours a week in prime time to Jay Leno at the expense of dramatic scripted programming. It seems that gamble isn't paying off.

The Jay Leno show would be profitable if it garnered a 1.5 share of the audience. As of late, it isn't even reaching that meager goal. Shows have been cancelled this year that were generating much better ratings than this. In fact, earlier shows in the Monday 10PM slot like Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Journeyman did better than Jay Leno is doing now.

Put it this way: on Monday, WWE wrestling on cable beat Jay Leno, and those were troubling numbers for RAW.

So can someone please put the viewing public out of its misery and finally cancel Jay Leno. I am even willing to bet that if NBC bought the rights to the other shows that have recently been cancelled, I don't think they could possibly do worse than they are right now (and it would likely garner them some great press too). Or they could show reruns of shows which get good DVR ratings to perhaps buoy their ad sales (since there would be no additional production costs for doing that).

Of course, if it was ultimately their goal to seriously weaken Jay Leno as a late night threat after his time at NBC, well, they have likely more than succeeded. I don't think he is a threat to anyone in late night now.


Semaj said...

I'm with you there; it is time for NBC to cancel Leno's damn show. But part of me wants to see them fall even harder on their faces by letting Leno continue to sink even deeper. NBC took the “no lose” route and still lost. Instead of trying to make better shows to attract audiences, they shrugged and said, “Why even try? Let's just play it safe.”

I do like that Leno is putting out hints that he's ready to throw in the towel. You might be correct in the “burning the Jay Leno bridge” theory.

I think the folks over at NBC are too arrogant to admit defeat.

AG said...

Love the bridge-burning theory, but I don't credit NBC's current management with that much intelligence. If anyone's hatching elaborate plots here it's Tina Fey -- doing it all to keep her show in material.

MC said...

AG: But does Tina Fey have that much power... if she does, she is the greatest woman in television (oh, who am I kidding, she already is).

Semaj: I think when your free tv network is being beaten in the ratings by a cable network you own, then you definitely have some problems.