New research suggests NBC may be right -- and wrong -- about its programming decision to run Jay Leno every weeknight at 10 p.m. Maybe it needs to tinker a bit with its plans.
says that at 10 p.m. many viewers are either watching DVR-ed programs, or
"abandoning that hour of television altogether."
For its part, NBC believes Jay Leno at 10 p.m. could change some of this thinking -- that his show will be kind of DVR-proof, because his
talk show, like its 11:30 p.m. version, will offer daily topical comedy and entertainment.
But what if viewers' outlook about late-night TV is changing quicker than we realize? Maybe they
want something else -- not Leno, "CSI" or even local news. Maybe it's all about reading, the Internet or gaming.
For years, late-night TV hosts complained that their major competition
wasn't other TV shows, but the heavy eyes of viewers who needed to head off into dreamland.
NBC's affiliate in Boston, WHDH-TV, may have the right idea
-- even if legally it doesn't stand a chance, according to its network-affiliate deal.
WHDH-TV wants to put in a new 10 p.m. newscast instead of Leno. Local TV new at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. in Central and Mountain time zones) would surely see a ratings rise, versus the
ever-declining later news show ratings of many TV stations.
In the near future, the station would gain whatever is left of local TV advertising dollars if it went to a 10 p.m. local
newscast, as all prime-time advertising inventory would be theirs to sell -- not just the few local avails that the network offers.
NBC has strong affiliate agreements. But one wonders if
it wouldn't curry more favor -- for the long term -- in its ambitious Leno attempt by offering up, say, a minute of more advertising time to stations per hour.
To be fair, NBC isn't
just programming 10 p.m. in the usual way. It is taking away scripted programming fare, which draws in different advertiser types than those that buy Monday to Friday strip talk shows.
Zucker, president and CEO of NBC Universal, says no one thinks less of Fox because they run less programming than the other networks -- two hours of prime time from Monday through Saturday, three on
No one will think less of NBC, either. But maybe its strategists should have thought harder when they decided to try to change the network business overall