Affiliates Staggered by Tanking Leno Ratings

'Writing's on wall' for struggling show, say many
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2009 2:32 AM CST
Jay Leno speaks earlier this year about "The Jay Leno Show" at the NBC Universal Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, file)
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(Newser) – With 10 pm ratings in a free fall for many NBC affiliates, the question is on the table: When will the network ditch its Jay Leno Show experiment? The drop in last month's numbers was “staggering,” one manager tells Broadcasting & Cable. Another—who saw a 48.4% drop for Leno’s time slot and an 11.6% drop for the late news that follows it—calls the numbers "scary.”

NBC executives insist the show is performing as expected, but say they're looking at “ways to improve.” Affiliate execs—who graded Jay as a late-news lead-in with Ds, Fs, and “WTFs”—have some ideas: Get higher-profile guests, or change up the format. One manager says all Jay needs to do is “find a water-cooler event”—Tiger Woods, maybe?—“and just knock a home run.”

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