As NBC Hypes ‘Leno Show,’ Uncertainty Abounds

By Andrew Gauthier 

NBC’s President of Entertainment, Angela Bromstad said Wednesday that the success of “The Jay Leno Show” at 10 p.m. will not be marked by its first week, and called the show “a marathon, not a sprint.” Bromstad also said NBC would have been “absolutely crazy” to let Mr. Leno leave the network.

As proof of their commitment to the legendary comedian, NBC unveiled a huge promotional push for his show, reports The New York Times , including a 24-hour webcam inside Mr. Leno’s studio, and showing his comedy bits in gyms, elevators, and New York City taxi cabs.

CBS’s Entertainment President, Nina Tassler, isn’t concerned about the threat to their scripted prime time shows. “10 o’clock has been a great business for us. Three of the returning shows win their time periods. We’re not really looking at what NBC is doing. We see this as a great opportunity. It’s a sea change in our business,” Tassler told TV critics Monday.

With the recent shake-up at the top of NBC and declining upfront sales, all eyes will be on Leno – and new entertainment television chairman, Jeff Gaspin. The network hopes the move will boost its struggling schedule, and save NBC the millions required to produce a scripted drama like those traditionally broadcast during prime time. In addition, NBC hopes the new show will be a platform for DVR-proof advertising. The show has already attracted major sponsors, including McDonald’s, which will advertise its annual Monopoly game with a nightly prize-drawing on the show during the month of October.

“The Jay Leno Show” will be featured in NBC’s annual fall primetime preview special, which will air across all of the company’s properties starting Saturday, says the Hollywood Reporter.