The move of former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno to his new “Jay Leno Show” at 10PM weekdays is looking more and more like a fiasco of epic proportions for NBC. His ratings have fallen off the shelf as he is averaging only 4-5 Million viewers, off from a high of 18 Million viewers when the show first started out in September, and compared to the other shows in that time-slot that are bringing in 11-14MM viewers.
When I was out in California last week, we took a tour of the NBC studios in Burbank. What struck me during the tour was the cringe of the tour guide’s face when he spoke of “former ‘Tonight Show’ host Jay Leno”. He looked like he was smelling rotten fish. It was also interesting that Leno’s face and “Tonight Show” murals were still all over the studio, which implies to me that maybe NBC is hedging its bets and may be planning on some sort of course correction, because this experiment has been dead on arrival. The hard part here is to figure out how they will handle Conan O’Brien if they do in fact move Jay back to the “Tonight Show”.
But maybe this will be Comcast’s problem soon, if the rumors of them buying a controlling stake in NBC are true. I’d hate to be in the NBC boardroom when this is the topic of the day.