11 Jan 2010

NBC TV experiment with Leno show timeslot ends

11:58 am on 11 January 2010

NBC TV has abandoned a prime time cost-cutting experiment with talk show host Jay Leno.

From 12 February, The Jay Leno Show will no longer air in the 10pm slot it has occupied five nights a week since September 2009.

The network is in talks with Leno and other late night show hosts, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon, about moving their shows to a later hour.

It hopes to move The Jay Leno Show to 11:35pm, The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien to 12:05am and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon to 1:05am.

A new line-up will come into place after NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver from 12 - 28 February.

NBC entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin acknowledged NBC was under pressure from its local affiliates. They complained they had lost 30% of their audiences for the 11pm news because of the small 5.8 million average audience for Leno's show beforehand.

The ABC reports the announcement is an embarrassing retreat for NBC, which is in bottom place among the four leading networks in the United States after replacing traditional and costly dramas at 10pm with the less expensive Leno programme.