NBC Gambling On Variety Hour Format

In less than two weeks, we have seen the boom and bust of Rosie O'Donnell's variety proof-of-concept special and the announcement that Jay Leno will stay at NBC with a new prime-time week night talk and comedy show. So why all the attention on these shows? Easy, advertising.

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."

2 comments about "NBC Gambling On Variety Hour Format".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 11, 2008 at 8:17 p.m.

    The only way to discover the limits of the possible with the Jay Leno show is to push them to the edge of Jay Leno.

  2. Kay Kenyon from Global Revenue Resources, LLC, December 11, 2008 at 10:23 p.m.

    Jay Leno is old and even older news. Nobody is going to sit and watch this tired and shopworn bore hog a whole hour of yet more of the same, predictable and endlessly boring crap.

    NBC has not had anything worth watching on TV in many years. What they are doing with Leno is proof of the desperate measures they've employed, to not be forced to start running infomercials on prime-time, but even that would be preferable to watching Leno, who has always been a medicore and annoyingly UNfunny comedian, and now is just a dumpy old boring guy with lousy jokes, who never had an original thought in his life.

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