Curtains for prime time's 'Jay Leno Show'?
NBC's experiment with a prime time comedy hour appears to be a flop, with reports that the network is pushing the faltering 'Jay Leno Show' back to its old late-night slot.
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A dying format?Skip to next paragraph
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“The late-night talk show is a dying format,” Mr. Levinson says, adding that while the talk show structure that began back in the 1950s with host Dave Garroway, has served network television well through the 20th century, it’s time is over.
“Unless these shows can suddenly become as hip or cool as Jon Stewart or [Stephen] Colbert, then that era is done,” he adds. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report both air on Comedy Central after 11 p.m.
New time without new content
Will a network suddenly faced with five consecutive nights of prime-time real estate to fill go out on a limb and try something new? History suggests otherwise, say media experts.
When CBS moved Katie Couric into the evening news anchor slot in 2006, it changed little of the show’s basic format, Mr. Levinson notes. “They got credit for putting a woman in that job, but even though she tried out a variety of story ideas, essentially it’s the same newscast [that] networks have been mounting for decades.”
Similarly, when NBC debuted The Jay Leno Show as a five-night comedy strip at 10 p.m. last fall, fans and affiliates alike hoped that the host would experiment with sharper humor and new formats. “Instead,” says Syracuse University’s Thompson, “the show may actually have gotten worse when it moved to its new time slot.”
Meanwhile, the folks over at both NBC corporate headquarters as well as “The Jay Leno Show” are keeping a low profile as the rumors fly. But that won’t last long. The network is scheduled to face a day of press conferences Sunday detailing its mid-season programming at the semi-annual Television Critics Association in Pasadena.
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