A TV Week article about reaction to the tiff over the Boston NBC affiliate's (WHDH) move to potentially replace the upcoming Jay Leno Show with a 10pm newscast had some interesting quotes about the Leno show in general.
Some were surprisingly optimistic:
Ms. Poe-Howfield [general manager of Las Vegas NBC affiliate KVBC] and Louisville’s WAVE general manager Steve Langford, said that NBC’s 10 p.m. lead-ins have always struggled to push viewers into the news. The Leno plan can only stabilize or improve numbers, they said.
“My take is that I’m going to get 39 weeks of fresh programming in a time period that, quite frankly, NBC has had great difficulty with over the past few years,” Mr. Langford said. “I don’t see a lot of downside. I only see upside potential.”
Not everyone sees the upside:
“Given NBC’s track record of late, it could get worse,” Craig Allison, general manager of NBC’s Kansas City affiliate, KSHB, said.
Mr. Allison said he hopes for the best in terms of NBC affiliates and the Leno gamble, but understands that by going with news instead of Leno, a local station would get to keeps the entire ad inventory. Depending on the 10 p.m. news in the market, that could make a significant viewership grab.
“It’s almost a no-brainer. The only thing you have at stake is the relationship you have with the network,” Mr. Allison said.
And what's on the minds of every other NBC affiliate right now? Money.
“If they pull this off, and they [have] a full hour of late news, they’re probably going to make more money than the other way around,” Mr. Langford said of WHDH’s gambit.
As for NBC going "nuclear" and stripping WHDH of its NBC affiliation, here's my favorite quote:
Mr. Allison said he was skeptical that quality stations would rush to NBC to claim the affiliation.
“The line of prospective NBC affiliated desirees is not as long as it was six years ago,” he said.
And reinforcing that NBC has to at least appear to absolutely crush the rebellion, as other stations are just waiting to see what happens before they threaten to bolt themselves.
“If there were other GMs out there that had that concern, it might solidify it in their minds now that maybe they should be thinking along those lines,” Ms. Poe-Howfield said.