Scheduling The Jay Leno Show for weeknights at 10 p.m.must have seemed like "a savvy business move" at the time, said Joe Flint in the Los Angeles Times, seeing as it would allow NBC to substitute a "low-cost talk show for expensive scripted dramas." But Leno is a "weaker lead-in" for local NBC affiliates' 11 p.m. newscasts, and stations in places like Baltimore and Kansas City are getting "shellacked in the ratings." Now they may be "forced to consider their own program alternative for the 10 p.m. hour."
They shouldn't bother, said Jeff Bercovici in AOL's Daily Finance. Rumors are that Jay Leno's show is likely to be "one of the first casualties" if NBC is taken over by interested buyer Comcast. NBC has lost "a third of its 10 p.m. audience compared to last season," and the end of this season will almost certainly see Leno's new show cancelled—if "he even makes it that long." The network needs to find a way to bring viewers back, and "tepid late-night-style talk is not going to do the trick."
Don't count out Jay Leno just yet, said Walt Belcher in the Tampa Tribune. His show attracts "enough 18-to-49-year-olds to not be a disaster," and stands to make NBC about $300 million a year—even after subtracting "Leno's $30 million salary." Sure, the ratings are low, but "broadcast network viewing is down across the board." Maybe we should listen to NBC executives and give Leno another couple of months to prove himself—"a better time to check his pulse would be at the end of December."
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