Jay Leno May Continue to Crack Jokes at NBC — in Prime Time
NBC may have come up with a solution to its Jay Leno dilemma. The Peacock is expected to offer the late-night host a new show on the network that would air at 10 pm/ET five nights a week, allowing the network to retain the host but honor his contract, which expires in a year and a half.
NBC has been looking for a way to keep Leno after he turns over his Tonight Show gig to Conan O'Brien in 2010. The promised transfer of power left the network with the challenge of finding a role for Leno, who consistently leads late-night ratings and has been sought after by various networks and studios.
With the creation of a nightly "stripped" show, NBC's expected offer is the first of its kind and sets a precedent for prime-time programming, the New York Times reports. The new format may also pave the way for a new approach to broadcast programming: On Monday, network chief Jeff Zucker said he believes that all networks may have to scale back the number of hours they program.
Leno's show, if it comes to fruition, would shave five hours off of NBC's programming plate, cutting back from 22 to 17 hours weekly. Network execs indicated that the idea for Leno's show, which both keeps the comedian at the network and could save production costs, came from Zucker.
Would you tune in to laugh with Leno during prime time? Do you think NBC's plan is a good one — or fear it could come at the expense of other shows?