Several station chiefs appreciate the effort Leno makes to serve viewers up for local late news. “He was telling jokes right until then end, then, ‘That’s our show—here’s your local news,’” says WSMV Nashville VP/General Manager Elden Hale of a recent night. “You didn’t have time to reach for the remote.”
That keep-’em-hooked strategy is paying off for many NBC affiliates. WDIV, for one, posted an 11.7 household rating/22 share for its late news the week of Sept. 14—a significant boost over the 8.2 rating/16 share it averaged in September 2008. Moreover, Leno’s 11.8 rating/20 share that first week at 10 was a major improvement for the time slot; a rare 10 p.m. ratings deliverer like Law and Order: SVU did a 9.5/14 on WDIV in May.
via Broadcasting & Cable.
Somewhat notable is the fact that no local station executive would speak, even off the record, negatively about The Jay Leno Show so far. Of course, there aren’t any real alternatives for the local affiliates in the short term. And even in the long term any breaks with the network could be very (financially painful).