NBC Formally Abandons Primetime ‘Leno’

By Andrew Gauthier 


NBC announced on Sunday what the world already knew: that the network was abandoning its primetime Jay Leno experiment and would be moving the high-paid host back to late night.

According to the Associated Press, the move comes as a result of pressure from affiliates, many of whom experienced a ratings drop for their late news since ‘Leno’ started as the lead-in. “The Jay Leno Show” will officially end with the February 12 beginning of the Winter Olympics.


NBC’s plan is to move Leno to 11:35 with Conan O’Brien following with an hour-long show at 12:05. “My goal is to keep Jay, Conan and Jimmy as our late-night lineup,” said NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin.

Now it seems that NBC’s late-night future hinges on what O’Brien, who moved his entire staff to Los Angeles last year, decides to do. According to a The Wall Street Journal report, O’Brien has been in contact with Fox about a potential move.

As NBC figures out its late-night lineup, the network will be working to patch the hole left by the 10pm ‘Leno’ as well as mend relationships with affiliates. Plans are in the works to add at least two hours of original scripted shows–a more conventional lead-in for the late local news.