NBC Affiliates Hopeful a Shakeup Will Jumpstart News

By Andrew Gauthier 

Broadcasting & Cable

While they had yet to hear from the network by midday Friday, general managers at NBC affiliates seemed genuinely heartened by what looks like a proposal to move Jay Leno back to 11:35, and fill the vital 10 p.m. hour with more typical primetime fare.

“I’m very excited-it’s the best outcome we could’ve had,” says WLBT Jackson VP/General Manager Dan Modisett. “I don’t think this was working like any of us had hoped.”

NBC affiliates remain fiercely loyal to Leno and were quick to say the rookie program’s struggles don’t reflect the funnyman’s work ethic or comedic chops. “This isn’t about Jay’s popularity,” says WJAR Providence VP/General Manager Lisa Churchville. “This is about having that kind of show at 10 p.m.”

Some affiliate managers were reluctant to discuss the rumored changes, which may see Leno on for a half hour at 11:35, followed by an hour hosted by Conan O’Brien at 12:05, as they had not heard from the network. More…