It’s official: Jay Leno’s 10PM reign of terror is over.
“I can confirm that starting February 12 THE JAY LENO SHOW will no longer air at 10PM,” said Jeff Gaspin, NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman at this morning’s NBCU Executive Session from the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena. “While it was performing at exceptional levels for the network, it didn’t meet our affiliates needs.”
As for the future of Jay, Conan, and Jimmy respectively, Gaspin was far less specific. Only going as far as to state that his goal is for NBC to keep all three talented funny-men at the network, with Leno opening the night at 11:35PM, Conan taking THE TONIGHT SHOW to 12:05AM and Jimmy Fallon starting LATE NIGHT even later, at 1:05AM.
Unfortunately, “As much as I’d like to tell you we have a done deal, that’s not true,” said Gaspin. “The talks are ongoing. But I hope and expect, before the Olymics begin, we will have everything set.”
Gaspin further went on to call all parties involved “incredibly gracious and professional.” Noting that more information will more than likely begin to trickle out next week with Jay, Conan and Jimmy being given the weekend to mull their options.
So just where does that leave NBC you ask? Our take after the jump.
The Good: Regardless of what happens in late night, NBC is under a lot of pressure from angry affiliates — who saw their 11PM cash cow that was the 11 o’clock news take a major hit this fall — to deliver. Which is why Angela Bromstad, President of NBC Primetime Entertainment and Universal Media Studios followed up Gaspin’s sate-of-the-late-night address with an announcement of her very own. High profile projects from big name producers are on their way! With NBC green-lighting some very exciting pilots including: J.J. Abrams UNDERCOVERS (Abrams will direct the pilot), a remake of the hit BBC series PRIME SUSPECT, THE ROCKFORD FILES from David Shore (HOUSE), THE EVENT (Think THE NINE meets 2012), CHASE from Jerry Bruckheimer, the romantic hour-long LOVE BITES by Working Title Films (Love Actually) and KINDREDS from the quirky mind of David E. Kelley.
The Bad: None of which will be ready until at the earliest, Fall 2010. Which means, NBC’s post-Olympics 10PM slate will more than likely feature a mix of reality television (an even bigger BIGGEST LOSER?), DATELINE, a mix of repeats and one or two scripted shows (We hope you’re excited for the return of LAW & ORDER and LAW & ORDER: CI)
The Ugly: Aside from Bromstad announcing that she’s already asked Dick Wolf to begin working on a Los Angeles based LAW & ORDER spin-off (groan!) — NBC’s reputation. While Gaspin was quick to point out that NBC is number one in news, a destination for sports thanks to the ratings juggernaut that is NFL Sunday Night, and home to some of the funniest shows on TV courtesy to their Thursday night comedy lineup of THE OFFICE, 30 ROCK and “two promising new comedies,” in COMMUNITY and PARKS AND RECREATION — Late Night is a mess, Primetime is in shambles and the simple fact of the matter is that it’s going to take quite a long time to return the once proud Peacock Network to a shadow of its former self.