Chin Up at NBC, Part IV: NBC Announces Its Post-Leno Prime Time Strategy
NBC just announced its plan to fill the 9 p.m. CST hour that will be vacated by “The Jay Leno Show” on Feb. 10. This plan goes into effect as soon as all the ice dancing and snow jumping exits stage left in Vancouver.
From the Associated Press:
New and veteran NBC dramas and a comedy produced by Jerry Seinfeld will take over the bulk of the prime-time slots soon to be vacated by Jay Leno.
NBC announced Thursday that the freshman drama “Parenthood” and the relocated “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: Special Victim Units” will fill three slots. Another will go to the comedy panel series “The Marriage Ref” from Seinfeld.
“Dateline NBC” will fill another 10 p.m. EST slot.
The new lineup will debut after NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics from Feb. 12-28.
Yet to be resolved is NBC’s effort to make way for Leno to return to late-night by bumping Conan O’Brien’s and “Tonight” to midnight, a plan O’Brien has rejected.
I guess NBC should be glad that “Law & Order” is still “chung-chung“-ing along. Otherwise, NBC might have been forced to show a daily repeat of that excruciating Hoda Kotb-Kathie Lee Gifford fourth hour of “Today.”
Just so we understand ourselves, my position on this is clear: while it might not be completely true as it relates to either contract law or the institutional mores of the National Broadcasting Company, Conan O’Brien is getting the raw, jagged, poison-tipped end of NBC’s late-night deal. While there appears to have been a clause in O’Brien’s 2004 contract allowing the network to move “Tonight” to a later time on its schedule, there was no sane reason to believe that NBC would actually make such a move, thereby cheapening one of its most important franchises.
But Jay Leno has a Rasputin-like hold over the network, and if he insisted that NBC program nothing but Spike TV’s muscle-car obsessed “Powerblock” shows in prime time, Jeffs Zucker and Gaspin would immediately start making break-up calls to Tina Fey and Dick Wolf. Leno failed in prime time, but NBC is absorbing the blame. Leno tells Broadcasting & Cable in November that he would like to have stayed at 10:30 p.m. CST, and presto — it’s done.
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