With affiliates unhappy about low ratings leading into their late newscasts, NBC is looking at canceling Jay Leno’s 10 p.m. show and returning him to latenight at 11:35 p.m., but in a half-hour format, The New York Times reports.
His replacement, Conan O’Brien, would move to a 12:05 a.m. EST start time and his show would remain an hour long, the Times said, citing sources who have talked to NBC’s top management. The plan would go into effect after the Winter Olympics. Jimmy Fallon’s show would also slide a half-hour, to a 1:05 a.m. start.
NBC told the paper that no final decision has been made, and said in a statement that “We remain committed to keeping Conan O’Brien on NBC.” A source said that the plan is essentially in place.
In his monologue Thursday, Leno addressed the developments, noting: “I don’t think there is any truth to the rumors. See, it’s always been my experience that NBC only cancels you when you’re in first place.”