The seismic shift may also help by increasing the pool of viewers in late-night, as some research types predict.
How will the ratings shake out? Letterman now pulls a 3 rating, and there's no reason to assume his audience isn't available an hour earlier. Jay Leno stands to pick up some older viewers who were watching the now-defunct CBS Crimetime block. Nightline will likely also get a slight bump.
The big losers, aside from NBC: The Arsenio Hall Show, which is down 15% this year in household ratings and even more in some key young demos, and Fox's fledgling Chevy Chase Show. Many buyers now think Chevy has less than a 50-50 chance of getting on the air, though Fox insists everything's on track.
NBC made a strong countermove by turning the 12:30 a.m. slot over to Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels. 'A masterstroke,' said DDB/Needham senior vp Bart McHugh. 'He's proven he can reach that kind of audience.'
The question for CBS is how many stations will clear the Letterman show at 11:30. Somewhere between 40% and 60% of its stations run syndicated programs there now, and that is a lucrative time period for them. CBS may decide to pay the stations to clear the time periods, but that will be expensive. The more Letterman is delayed, the lower his ratings.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)