Leno Leaves, NBC's Wobby Business Model Returns

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Announcements don’t get much more dramatic than the one NBC made today about yanking The Jay Leno show from its 10 o’clock time period just three months after the former host of The Tonight Show began his one-hour comedy, skit show.


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Announcements don’t get much more dramatic than the one NBC made today about yanking The Jay Leno show from its 10 o’clock time period just three months after the former host of The Tonight Show began his one-hour comedy, skit show.


Yes, NBC TV honcho Jeff Gaspin told an overflow gathering of reporters on Sunday’s TV Critics Tour in Pasadena, Calif., NBC’s 200-odd affiliates had forced the change because prime time ratings tanked. The reason? Their 11 pm news programs, a nice little profit center for most stations, was suddenly hemorrhaging through no fault of their own.But what Gaspin didn’t say – at least not so boldly – was that NBC had also made an abrupt u-turn on its plans to remake a broken business model for making TV shows. Prime time pilots are made for $10 million, shows for $3 million or so, and viewing audiences are going south. Gaspin’s predecessor, Jeff Zucker, had made the fateful decision to bring in Leno, and to shuttle Law and Order and other 10 pm shows out of their time slots, by arguing that ratings would go down but so would costs.


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