NBC Affiliates Brace for ‘Leno’ Era Sweeps

By Andrew Gauthier 

The Baltimore Sun

The November sweeps ratings period is one of the first major milestones of the TV season. Usually, network and station executives can’t talk enough about what they have to offer during the month in hopes of attracting viewers.

Unless, that is, one of the things you have is “The Jay Leno Show” airing at 10 p.m. thanks to a risky move made by NBC in hopes of cutting costs this fall.

If you are an NBC affiliate manager such as Jordan Wertlieb at WBAL-TV in Baltimore, you are more interested in talking about December when the other networks will mostly be in reruns. The reason for that: Right now, your late local news is getting thrashed in the ratings like never before thanks to Leno’s failure to attract a large lead-in audience at 10 against first-run competition.

“Don’t forget this was a seismic change, a watershed change in network television,” Wertlieb says. “This is something that needs to be evaluated over time. How will Leno do against repeats? As you know, most series are 22 episodes. How does Leno do on the other weeks? I think you can start to evaluate this at the end of December, but not yet now.” More…