Thursday, January 14, 2010

View From the Phlipside - Leno

My name is Jay Phillippi and I've spent my life in and around the media. TV, Radio, the movies and more. I love 'em and I hate em' and I always have an opinion. Call this the view from the Phlipside

I don't normally do this. I was raised to believe that it was rude and not something that nice people did. It's called gloating and I really, really try to avoid it whenever possible. But I just can't resist this time. I told you so.

When it was first announced that Jay Leno was coming back to NBC to create a five night a week, saving money for the number 4 network in the land while maybe creating something that people would watch I said it was a bad idea. I said it would come to a bad end. I said that the local affiliates weren't going to like it. Turns out I was right.

I told you so.

Over the weekend the Peacock Network finally got the message from the local affiliates . Jay Leno is killing them. So after the Winter Olympics the new Jay Leno show is gone. To be replaced by the old Jay Leno show apparently. All the details are still being worked out as I write this. But it looks like Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon both get pushed back into their old slots. That's still up in the air since Conan is apparently NOT happy about this at all. Even being told he could keep the name "The Tonight Show" doesn't appear to be helping. So the drama over this bad decision isn't done yet. NBC is looking at shifting a couple of other shows around, including moving Biggest Loser later by an hour to fill the gap. They're also ordering up a lot more pilots for the fall as well.

In the end it came down to ratings. The ratings that NBC found acceptable weren't OK with the local stations who saw their 11 PM News, a major money making machine, getting pounded. At least one station dropped from number 1 in their market to number 3. That's a lot of dollars lost. And they weren't going to put up with it. NBC, after 4 months, finally agreed.

This was simply a bad idea. It wasn't about programming, or meeting the needs of the audience or doing something new and exciting on television. It was a dollars and cents, bottom line kind of decision. There was virtually no chance that this was ever going to fly for very long. I caught the new Leno show a couple times and never got snagged by it. And yes that resulted in me watching a different station for the 11 o'clock news more than a few times.

The Jay Leno experiment is officially over. It was a failure. And I get to revel in a moment of anti-social behavior because I get to say - I told you so.

Call that the view from the Phlipside

These are the scripts from my weekly media commentary program on WRFA-LP Jamestown

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