The Leno Move So Far: NBC Says It Makes Financial Sense; Late News on Local NBC Affiliates Is Suffering

Oct 12, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Bill Carter of the New York Times delves in some depth as to what the the move of Jay Leno to 10 pm has wrought thus far, and reports that some of the ratings of local NBC affiliate late newscasts in the country’s top 15 markets are down significantly, though station owners are not yet screaming about it publicly.

The late news in those top 15 markets are down 10 percent to 30 percent in ratings, the Times notes, but the reports says, "so far the owners seem to be holding their tongues — along with their breath. ‘You don’t make decisions based on a week or two,’ said Michael Fiorile, the vice chairman of the Dispatch Broadcasting Group, which owns the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis. ‘Six months from now we’ll take a look at the trends.’

Indianapolis is the nation’s 25th=largest market.

From the network point of view, according to the Times, "Jeff Gaspin, the chairman of NBC Universal Entertainment, said he was certain of one aspect of the Leno move. ‘We’ll make money at 10 o’clock this year, I guarantee.’ "

The article also said that "Mr. Gaspin repeated NBC’s conclusion that hits cannot be established at 10 anymore, largely because the hour is dominated by viewers playing back recorded shows on digital video recorders," and said that Mr. Gaspin noted the ABC’s tough sledding in the 10 p.m. hour supported his thesis. 

–Chuck Ross

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