"Jay Leno Show" future uncertain
By James Hibberd
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Are Jay Leno's days in primetime numbered?
The future of NBC's "The Jay Leno Show" is in question as Web reports Thursday triggered all sorts of scenarios for the troubled program.
What is clear is that the network is reconsidering its commitment to Leno at 10 p.m., with moving him back to late-night being a credible option.
In such a scenario, Leno would return to 11:35 p.m. for a half-hour program, with Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon shifting back a half-hour to 12:05 a.m. and 1:05 a.m., respectively. If he agrees to the plan, O'Brien would retain "the Tonight Show" name for his show.
TMZ first reported the possibility of a shift, saying the move will happen after next month's Winter Olympics, which pre-empt NBC's primetime programing for two weeks. NBC did not deny such a possibility.
But the time-period shift scenario would require NBC to fill five primetime hours very quickly.
The network has ramped up development for next season with plans to order 18 pilots, including 10 dramas, but the new series would not be ready before summer. NBC also has several reality shows ready to roll, but such programs normally are designed to air from 8-10 p.m.
In any case, the rumors have roiled the industry: Eyebrows have been raised not only because NBC would be considering reversing its Leno plan but because it would be making such a drastic move in a few weeks. But looming for NBC is its January 21 affiliate meeting, where it would face disgruntled station owners whose late newscasts were hit hard by the anemic "Leno" lead-in, and, in unfortunate timing, the network's Sunday session at the TV Critics Assn. press tour, where its top executives undoubtedly will be barraged with Leno questions. Continued...