NBC’s Conan O’Brien–Jay Leno fiasco has been a monumental disaster for the network, both for its public image and bottom line, as it prepares to pay an embittered O’Brien and his staff an estimated $45 million to abandon “The Tonight Show.”
Next up: the Winter Olympics.
A solid Olympics performance in February could go a long way toward rehabilitating the network. The past few weeks of bad publicity haven’t helped, though, and NBC’s struggling prime-time ratings hinder its abilities to promote the Vancouver games, which begin Feb. 12.
NBC also knows going in that it will lose millions of dollars on the Olympics but insists that no corners will be cut that viewers will be able to see. More…