The Early Tonight Show?

NY Times is saying NBC is signing a deal with Leno. The network is giving him the 10pm hour every weeknight for his own new show. If so, incredibly risky gamble on NBCs part. The 10pm hour is very important, especially for affiliates. A strong 10pm show translates into strong ratings for the 11pm local newscast.

Law & Order junkies are probably having a fit.

I can’t imagine Conan being too happy about his thunder being stolen like that, not to mention the implicit vote of no-confidence.

This is a serious concern. When else am I going to see SVU but once a week on NBC?

about 6 times a day on USA and Universal HD.

10-11 every weeknight? Then they expect people to stay tuned for Conan at 11:30?

I could see giving Leno a show that airs on weekdays in the 7pm-8pm slot when other networks are running syndicated content like Entertainment Tonight and Extra. It could be like a network version of The Daily Show, only less politically themed and more entertainment oriented. A direct competitor to the tabloid shows. There’s nothing but crap on during that hour right now anyway, so maybe it could forge a new market for NBC.

10-11 though, that’s stupid. You give up 5 hours of prime time scripted drama advertising every week to put on a show that people will only tune into occasionally at best.

If this happens, it’s wacky but interesting.

If they do it, it’s a desperate move to cling to the idea of appointment television. I’m just wondering what the end-game is supposed to be.

-I’m on the Conan O’Brien show tonight!
-Okay, but after Leno I’m all laughed out.

And is there anyone - anywhere - who plans to stay up to watch Jimmy Fallon on Conan’s old show?

Wouldn’t have stayed up for Fallon before this announcement, won’t stay up now.

I know Leno has a nigh-legendary work ethic, but really, why did he bother retiring in the first place? If anything, this new gig seems like more work.

IIRC, Leno was being pushed out by NBC to bump Conan up and was not prepared to hang it up.

As someone that doesn’t watch late night TV but is a SVU junkie, this news is kinda ‘meh’. How evil would it be to hope this gets canned?

Alternately: instead of paying for five expensive full-budget shows for the 10pm slot each week, you churn out a cheap talk show instead.

Craig Ferguson is so much better than most of these. I only catch him once in a while, but damn, he’s funny.

Of course, until the novelty of the greatest house band ever - The Roots - wears off.

I wonder if NBC will save money by using Leno in that slot. Any reason Law & Order can’t move up to 9pm?

On NPR they had a network guy saying that not only can they not fill up times with shows that stick, but times are tough even for the networks. His words, “expect the industry to shrink to less networks soon.”

Oh boy, more media consolidation. Just what we need!

I liked how after Olbermann’s interview with Leno on Countdown tonight he told Rachel Maddow during the transition between shows, with a nod and a wink, that he was glad MSNBC wasn’t trying to use two shows to full up its prime time every week.

I’m sure that’s exactly what the network execs are thinking. On the other hand, if three of those one-hour shows were rated in the Top 30 shows each week, and you replace that with 5 timeslots that consistantly rate outside of the top 30, does the savings really justify itself. Top rated shows command a lot more advertising dollars per spot than low rated ones. Plus you lose the backend revenue you would get from syndication of a show and/or DVD sales.

I’m sure the networks have teams of accountants to crunch the numbers, but it seems like a big gamble and I wonder if the other networks are thinking “whew, we’ll have one less competitor at 10pm on weeknights now!”.

I still think a 7-8pm timeslot would work way better. The only competition is tabloid shows and gameshows, and a show like Leno’s is something you can have on while you do other stuff and still enjoy, so it’s a great fit for that particular timeslot. Plus, older people like him best of all the late-night guys, so putting him on at 7pm when more of them are awake to watch could translate to more viewers.