NBC's Jeff Zucker announced today that beginning soon after April 1, NBC would transition to a two show network, expanding the Today Show to 12 hours a day from 6am to 6pm and the Tonight Show With Jay Leno to 6pm to 6am.
Said Zucker, "If you look at our ratings, you could say that we haven't been hitting too many out of the park for the last few years. You might even say that since I took over at NBC we haven't hit any out of the park, so I've decided to go back to my roots. The only real success I've ever had was the Today Show, and it's been #1 since before I had hair. We expanded it to 4 hours back in September, I figured why not make it half the damn day, it's called the "Today" Show after all. The only other show on NBC that's consistently number 1 even without its whiny writers is the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, so it's going have to cover the other half of the day because, god knows, we've got to give Meredith Viera her beauty sleep."
The two show schedule promises other benefits Zucker added, "Having to sell advertising on a 4th place network is so tiresome, so with just a two show network the upfront presentations to the advertisers are a thing of the past. We've got two shows, they're both #1, you advertise on them, and thank you very much".
Pilot season is also over, permanently, Zucker noted, "I just hated wading through all those endless dreary pilots, and as you've seen we weren't very good at picking new shows, so now I can just spend more time at my villa on Nevis".
Asked about his rival's sudden move, CBS's Les Moonves commented "As woefully overall as NBC has been doing under Jeff, they actually did have some shows with audiences that had more people still chewing with their original teeth than pretty much all of ours, so maybe we'll pick up some of them".
Questioned about whether the dominating performance this spring of American Idol, referred to by some in the industry as the "Death Star", might have driven NBC's decision, Fox's Rupert Murdoch said "It was All Too Easy..."