NBC Affiliates Hold Out Hope for ‘Leno’

By Andrew Gauthier 

Broadcasting & Cable

Despite some rough “Jay Leno Show” ratings around the country, the NBC affiliates are largely still exhibiting patience before calling the rookie program a hit or a miss. General managers at NBC stations say there are too many wildcards, such as Daylight Savings Time and the Major League Baseball post-season, to get an accurate reading on the show right now.

“I’m still optimistic,” says WKYC Cleveland President/General Manager Brooke Spectorsky. “It’s still early-we haven’t gotten the time change yet, and we haven’t had the awful weather. It’s always dangerous to make a statement before the weather gets ugly.”

The “Leno Effect,” the phrase critics are using to describe The Jay Leno Show’s drain on local late news, is now part of the lexicon, thanks to a cavalcade of negative media reports about the rookie strip. Various dispatches have mentioned WTVJ Miami seeing a 30% slide in late news, compared to last year; KNBC Los Angeles witnessing a 26% dip; and WNBC New York off 22%.

While most outside of the 24 Local People Meter markets will have to wait for the November sweeps to end before getting a fair reading on the show, some GMs cop to a mounting feeling of anxiety regarding Leno. “It’s not quite what we’ve been promised,” says WSAZ Charleston-Huntington (W.Va.) VP/General Manager Don Ray, who acknowledges that Leno is a work in progress. More…