Leno’s New Time Wreaks Havoc for NBC Affiliates

By Andrew Gauthier 

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The Los Angeles Times

Baltimore may be called Charm City, but for WBAL — the local television station that carries NBC’s “The Jay Leno Show” — there isn’t much to smile about lately.

Usually, WBAL is in a neck-and-neck race for viewers against arch rival WJZ. But since NBC debuted “The Jay Leno Show” in prime time five weeks ago, the station’s 11 p.m. newscast — where silver-haired Rod Daniels‘ 25-year run as anchor is the longest in Baltimore history — has been shellacked in the ratings. Now WBAL is a distant second.

Call it the Leno effect. NBC’s controversial decision to shift the late-night talk show host to 10 p.m. has been billed as a savvy business move that enabled NBC to substitute a low-cost talk show for expensive scripted dramas. But now it’s playing havoc with many of NBC’s more than 200 affiliates, where Leno’s weaker “lead-in” is undermining audiences of 11 p.m. newscasts. News programs are crucial for local stations, which draw upon them for a third of their revenue. More…

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