Monday, September 14, 2009

The Beginning

Tonight could be the beginning of massive changes in the television industry.

Jay Leno's 10 PM show makes its debut on NBC. The fourth place network has given up on dramas in that time slot. It wanted to keep Leno from jumping to another network. NBC was looking for less expensive, relatively, programming. It all pointed to Leno.

I've never been a Leno fan, but people do like him, and I respect that. A low rated 10 PM show will still make money for NBC, but the affiliates won't be happy with a weak lead-in to the late local news.

I think Leno's show could work, but then again, I'm the same person who thought WYOU's interactive news stood a chance of attracting an audience.

Some in the TV industry already have a "bombing Leno" scenario cooked up. NBC has its affiliates move the late local news to 10 PM. Leno starts at 10:30, followed by Conan O'Brien at 11:30 PM, and Jimmy Fallon at 12:30 AM. It makes sense on some levels, although I fear the "Tonight" franchise gets lost in the shuffle.

And, if that works... look for ABC and CBS affiliates to try something different. There was a rumor several years ago that ABC was going to give up on the 10 PM hour, and program only two hours of prime time, like FOX. Then, lightning struck and ABC found some 10 PM shows that clicked with the audience.

I'm not betting against Leno. He's well known, and well liked. You can't underestimate that.

Will I watch? Maybe once or twice out of curiosity. As noted earlier, I don't think Leno is funny. 10 PM is past my bed time, anyway.

Speaking of changes, I've noticed some newspapers have updated their web site designs. It's a clever way to disguise the fact that less local news is going on-line, and an effort to drive you to buy the paper.