The Curious Case of NBC

NBC announced last night that when Conan takes over the coveted Late Night 11:30 time slot instead of running to a rival network Jay Leno will be getting a new time slot – 10 pm Monday through Friday. This is great for Jay Leno, but ultimately kind of a stupid decision. Maybe I am slightly biased as I am a struggling filmmaker, but this decision sucks.

For those not used to thinking about things like TV schedules pause and think – what currently plays between 10-11 pm?
Monday - My Own Worst Enemy
Tuesday - Law & Order: SVU
Wednesday - Law & Order
Thursday - ER
Friday - Dateline NBC.
With the exception of Friday night these are all adult, scripted dramas which get a very good amount of viewership. ER, and the Law & Order’s will bring NBC a lot of money due to syndication as well.

While Leno is cheaper to produce than a scripted series, Leno has not had the viewership that something like Law & Order has had; you can possibly account this to his current time slot, but in the same vein there is no guarantee that people will watch Leno at 10, and even further that they will watch Leno at 10 and still watch Conan at 11:30. Rather than watching both programs it is likely viewers will divide with the older generation still watching Leno and the younger still watching Conan and sticking around for Jimmy Fallon afterwards. This decision also screws NBC royally as I’ve never seen a talk show go into syndication – no one is screaming to see repeats of old Jay Leno’s on cable, you only occasionally see episodes of Johnny Carson on a channel or two.

I am appalled that NBC is decreasing their programming by 4-5 prime time hours. It again proves to me that NBC is still faltering because they are no longer the number one network and cannot figure out how to get back there.

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