Leno to Air on WHDH After Station Relents
NBC has successfully knocked down a rebellion in its affiliate colonies, with Boston's WHDH Monday announcing it would carry Jay Leno's 10 p.m. comedy show after earlier threatening not to.
“Upon further consideration, we have decided to telecast Jay Leno at 10 p.m. starting in September," said Ed Ansin, owner of Sunbeam Television, parent company of NBC's Boston affiliate. "Jay is from Andover where I went to school. I enjoy his humor. We hope the new show is a big success.”
Just two weeks ago, Mr. Ansin proudly announced he was ditching Mr. Leno's show in favor of a 10 p.m. local newscast. NBC responded swiftly, flatly declaring it would strip WHDH of its affiliation if the station went forward with its plan.
NBC Television Network President John Eick issued a statement Monday declaring victory.
“We are very pleased that WHDH will carry Jay Leno’s new primetime comedy show at 10 p.m. this fall on NBC," Mr. Eick said. "We look forward to working closely with the station on a successful launch in Boston of this show, featuring one of the most bankable stars in the business.”
When WHDH first confirmed its planned revolt, Mr. Ansin told the Boston Globe that he was pulling Mr. Leno's show because he didn't think the comic would do well in the earlier timeslot.
"We feel we have a real opportunity with running the news at 10 p.m. We don't think the Leno show is going to be effective in primetime," Mr. Ansin said. "It will be detrimental to our 11 o'clock. It will be very adverse to our finances.”
He also said the move was “a better financial plan for us.” Indeed, WHDH would have been able to keep all the ad revenue from a 10 p.m. newscast, but it will only get a fraction of the ad money generated from Mr. Leno’s show.
(Editor: Baumann. Updates to add final three paragraphs.)