The other day Broadcasting & Cable ran a story about how not all of the local NBC affiliates are pissed off about The Jay Leno Show being a bad lead-in for their local 11pm news. For all the yammering about how bad it is, it was interesting to see an article that at least attempted some balance. And OK, sure, it was before a series-low 1.2 adults 18-49 rating on Friday night (people must’ve been working on their Halloween costumes – sadly that excuse didn’t make it on the fan excuses for low ratings BINGO cards), but it came after Leno losing (badly) against repeats of CBS dramas at 10pm — an area where Leno was supposed to do better.
Some of the affiliates are clearly willing to take a wait-and-see approach, at least publicly, while they wait for shorter days and bad weather:
“I’m still optimistic,” says WKYC Cleveland President/General Manager Brooke Spectorsky. “It’s still early-we haven’t gotten the time change yet, and we haven’t had the awful weather. It’s always dangerous to make a statement before the weather gets ugly.”
WKYC’s 10 p.m. hour is off a little more than 10% compared to last year, says Spectorsky, but all-important late news is pretty much flat. WJAR Providence has seen late news off in the single digits, but VP/General Manager Lisa Churchville suspects that’s more about her prime lead-in butting up against Major League Baseball.
“We’re getting nice numbers [for Leno],” she says. “We’re not dissatisfied.”
NBC affiliates board chairman Michael Fiorile, sounding weary of addressing the Leno effect, says the affiliate group is not panicking. “It’s early,” he says. “We’ll look at it when November’s over. If it improves the way we hope it will, we’re in it for the long haul. If not, we’ll take a look.”