Jay Leno’s Move to 10pm – Genius or Recipe for Disaster?

There has been a great deal of buzz and speculation surrounding NBC’s decision to run Jay Leno from 10-11pm Monday – Friday beginning in the Fall. It will be a while before we know what the true ramifications of this move are, but either way people will be talking about it, analyzing it and putting their own spin on it. 

Jay Leno wraps up his 17-year run as host of the Tonight Show this week and Conan takes over June 1st. It feels like just yesterday that the last Johnny Carson episode ran – of course as I wrote that I had to Google it. The last episode was actually May 22nd, 1992. 

In the media business we have what we refer to as the “lead-in” effect. This refers to the correlation between how well a network’s 10pm primetime show does in the ratings and how the station’s 11pm newscast fares. The 11pm newscast is very important to a local affiliate’s financial wellbeing.

The Baltimore market does not always follow this rule however, as evidenced by the fact that even though ABC has a strong prime schedule, they have not been able to capitalize on this with viewership for their 11pm news. WBAL has enjoyed top ratings in this area for a while (along with WJZ), while the NBC prime schedule has been less than stellar. And we can’t forget that WBFF has a strong 10pm newscast as well. 

Another issue to consider is cost per point (CPP). Should a prime CPP, which is higher than other dayparts, be applied to Jay Leno’s new show? Or should the new show be closer to what clients pay for late fringe? The NBC affiliates will try to garner a prime CPP and buyers will push back for a lower one. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. 

In Baltimore, this change comes at a particularly interesting time as Nielsen will be introducing Local People Meters into the market in July. But that’s a topic for another day and another blog.

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2 responses to “Jay Leno’s Move to 10pm – Genius or Recipe for Disaster?

  1. Pingback: The State of Television… « The Media Works Blog

  2. Pingback: Leno – The Results are Coming In | The Inside Scoop

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