Compared with the cost of production and the product integration and sponsorship opportunity of of a scripted series, a weeknight show is a veritable gold mine of opportunity. A word of warning, though: the good ones aren't just about celebrity interviews and off-set antics. The good ones combine format with compelling content. If NBC plays this card right, Leno's show could be one of the most favorable interactive television opportunities of the 2009/2010 season.
How? Let's take a look at some interesting scenarios that could be played out:
1. Interactive voting and polling. From viewers voting on politicians to celebrity outfits to movie ratings to true or false questions, there are two-screen and single screen applications that have been tried, tested and are proving to be true.
2. Off-air product-integrated call to action. Let's think out of the box here. There are iPhone apps, BlackBerry apps, widgets and gidgets -- it's not that hard to figure out some kind of integration with data aggregation on the back-end.
3. In-show interactivity. Have a contest, have a call-in, be the 100th voter and win. Make these interactive features live and really make the show DVR-proof.
Many of you will read this and say that it is easy for an outsider to come up with all these pie-in-the-sky ideas, but these things are impossible within the "reality" of the television band advertising business, due to real "business" reasons. And the outsider's answer to that would be, quoting Arthur C. Clarke, "The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible."