So weâ€™re about two weeks into the Leno-Prime Time experiment and, well, it appears that the brain trust that decided that putting a talk show five nights a week in prime time at 10:00 P.M. might not have thought it all the way through, because, well, there is something of a ripple effect that is going on here.
It is not just a question of how the new â€œJay Leno Showâ€ itself is faring in the ratings, but also what the showâ€™s occupation of the 10 p.m. hour on NBC means to the network as a whole.
As Shari Anne Brill, the senior vice president and director of program analysis for the advertising agency Carat, put it, â€œItâ€™s really looking like dominoes.â€
The dominoes in question are the other parts of NBCâ€™s schedule affected by the networkâ€™s decision to relocate its late-night star, Mr. Leno, to prime time. Even though, as NBC executives point out, it is early in this experiment, signs of potential collateral damage have already emerged.
Shows seem to have suffered because they have been displaced to new time periods, like â€œLaw & Order SVU,â€ which was the leading drama when it played at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, but now is finishing last after moving to 9 on Wednesdays.
Plus, the effect goes later as well. Apparently there is a drop-off in viewership around the 10:30 mark, leading to lower viewer numbers watching the 11:00 news, meaning less people watching The Tonight Show, and even less watching…well, whatever follows Conan.
Donâ€™t believe me? well then read this.
To which I have to say…Brilliant, effin, brilliant!