Say Goodbye to NBC as We Know It

It's probably going be more like a cable network
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2009 1:54 PM CDT
In this April 7, 2009 file photo, Jay Leno performs in what was being billed as "Jay's Comedy Stimulus Plan" at the Palace in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, Mich.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
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(Newser) – Monday was a milestone for NBC’s misbegotten Leno experiment: only 4.6 million tuned in, the worst Monday of the year, writes Matthew Greenberg. This is getting so bad it may signal the beginning of the end of NBC as we know it. The network’s rationale for putting Leno at 10pm was that the show would be cheap to produce, attract younger viewers, and stay topical when dramas go into re-runs. But on Monday, 11.2 million watched CSI: Miami—even though it was a re-run.

NBC could cancel Leno and go back to 10pm dramas, but it probably won't. "Instead, I think we’re seeing the first signs of a radical shrinking of NBC as a broadcast network," writes Greenberg at True/Slant. "Through a mix of modestly-rated, but critically acclaimed shows, local primetime programming, strategic syndication, and an optional Jay Leno Show, NBC, under a new owner, will operate much more like a cable network than a traditional broadcast network." Sort of like USA or the CW. There's "no shame" in these "more modest aspirations," but it's still "going to be damn painful to watch."