Debate Rages Over Leno Move

Is talk show helping NBC, or destroying it?
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2009 9:46 AM CDT
Jay Leno speaks during the panel for "The Jay Leno Show" at the NBC Universal Television Critics Association summer press tour in Pasadena, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Jay Leno’s primetime takeover has sparked furious debate in the TV business, as its ripple effects begin to be felt. Shows that thrived at 10pm, like Law & Order SVU, are dying in other slots; at least one, Southland, has been canceled outright. Anonymously, producers are calling the move a “complete calamity” and “utter disaster,” the New York Times reports.

Local NBC affiliates aren’t happy either; ratings for their 11pm newscasts are down 10% to 30% because of weaker lead-in numbers from Leno than an ordinary 10pm show. But NBC argues that the cost savings remain too juicy to pass up. “Look at how ABC is doing at 10 against Jay,” said the chair of NBC Universal Entertainment; Leno is roughly on par with three of ABC’s 10pm offerings, while costing three times less.