Failed Experiments

Leno Back to Late Night?

NBC's late-night experiment appears to have failed. The network is apparently planning to move Jay Leno back to his old 11:35 p.m time slot for a half-hour show, with Conan O'Brien and The Tonight Show on for an hour at 12:05 a.m. followed by Jimmy Fallon. NBC originally moved Leno to the 10 p.m. slot in order to save money on costly prime-time programming, and while he averaged about 5 million viewers per night—above the ratings guarantees the network gave to advertisers—local NBC affiliates, which rely on news programs for the majority of their revenue, blamed low lead-in audiences for their flagging news ratings. In the meantime, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien not only trails CBS's Late Show with David Letterman by two million viewers per night, he also trails Leno's former ratings in that time slot among every age group. The new schedule is far from settled, though, with NBC still in talks with reps for both comics. There’s also the possibility that O'Brien might be wooed to another network, such as Fox, rather than accept a demotion to the midnight time slot.