NBC Announces Big Changes and We’ve Got Your Good, Bad & Ugly

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.

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    I don’t understand why NBC is bending over backwards to keep Leno. Why don’t they just dump him?!–he had his time and now it’s over! Leno knew his time was ending–let Conan have the time slot he was promised years ago! I never found Leno entertaining and would like to see him go completely!

  • Hil

    Leno needs to just retire. Conan deserves to keep his spot. He’s the only one I care to watch anyway and it has been great not being forced to stay up so late to catch him since he got his earlier gig. Leno — stop trying to take away other people’s jobs. You screwed up, now go away.

  • TVFan

    Our national nightmare is over. Woo-Hoo!!!

  • Ace

    This is great news! Hopefully a year from now NBC will be back to being a great network. They should still boot Zucker for greenlighting this mess to begin with.

  • guess maybe they should have kept Southland for just a little bit longer since they’ll have some spots open at 10 pm

  • Jeanett

    It’s time for Leno to go. I never saw him at 10 and was really pissed when NBC cancelled Southland for Leno.

  • The last great show on NBC was Will & Grace. Aside from the Thursday lineup, which, is fantastic, NBC is quickly losing its former glory.

  • kevin

    conan should refuse and go to another network that will treat him decently. if i were conan, i would be so incredibly pissed right now. that said, he will get a lot of money if he stays, so i could understand him staying. but, i’d rather see him to go to hbo or something.

  • luke

    I think this is great news, but also once again reflects bad decision making on the part of the network. Yes please cancel the show, but why take it off the air starting in February? Does the network have 5 hours of scripted dramas just lying around? I highly doubt a re-run of any of their shows can pull in more then 5.3 million viewers. I agree with cancelling it, but I don’t think running re-runs/reality shows in its place is what their affiliates need.

  • Ace

    Luke — This is what I would like to see happen: They have the rights to start showing FNL after the Olympics, so I would put that on Monday night (just b/c Friday is in the title doesn’t mean it belongs there and it would pair well w/ Chuck and Heroes/Parenthood). I would pushing Law and Order back to 10 on Tuesdays or Wed and temporarily fill its slot with repeats of the Thursday comedies until Rex is Not Your Lawyer is ready to go. Try to make Day One into a series (if it is good enough) and put it at 10 one night. Use the rest of their Trauma episodes at another 10 slot. Who knows, the ratings might be better if that show gets some time to retool AND is in a later slot. On Friday I would just do a repeat or Dateline for now.

  • Conan = Not funny. Leno = Mediocre. Craig Ferguson = Better.

    Still surprised no one has paid a bucket of money to bring Jon Stewart and Colbert to broadcast TV.

    Does anyone still have Craig Kilborn’s number?