Whiny NBC Affiliates Get Happy, For A Week

Categories: Broadcast TV

Written By

March 11th, 2010


At least for a week,  NBC affiliates were happy with the recent changes to NBC's schedule from a piece in Broadcasting & Cable:

“It feels really good to be back in pattern, with Jay on after late news,” says WDIV Detroit VP/General Manager Marla Drutz, who runs one of the few stations where The Jay Leno Show found an audience in primetime. “These are the kinds of numbers we’ve been hoping for. It’s a win-win-win”—in terms of prime, late news and late night.

That was last week. This Monday, Law & Order managed a Leno-average 1.5 adults 18-49 rating at 10pm, and Parenthood fell to a 2.6 rating on Tuesday (Jay averaged a 2.0 rating at 10pm Tuesdays).

The question, of course, is how long Leno can sustain signifi cant interest in late night; his 10 p.m. show also had a robust start before ratings started their free fall. A ratings reduction is inevitable, but Fiorile thinks Tonight will stand tall for the long term—just as it did before NBC blew up its schedule. “If they maintain the guest list and the quality of the show, I’m kind of optimistic Jay will hold onto a lot of it,” he says.

Oops! Jay's 1.1 adults 18-49 rating on Tuesday's Tonight Show was at Conan's typical levels.

But putting scripted shows back on at the tail end of primetime after the Olympics wrapped appears to be helping NBC affiliates get their late-news mojo back. Several, such as WTHR Indianapolis and WPTV West Palm Beach, are reclaiming late-news eminency after surrendering the title in November sweeps.

That was for an unsustainable week of programming with doubled up Law & Order's, a Parenthood premiere, a Marriage Ref timeslot premiere and a one hour Office. And after all that NBC averaged a 2.1 adults 18-49 rating for the week. The rest of this spring looks grim.

But putting dramas back on at 10 p.m. is a reminder of the difficulty NBC has had with that task. WHO Des Moines was another anomaly where The Jay Leno Show performed well; VP/General Manager Dale Woods is simply hoping the replacements can post a comparable number. “I’m very concerned with how the regular prime programming performs,” he says. “We’re going back to the shows that didn’t work before.”

Des Moines is seriously off message here. The strong arming of NBC (likely via a perceived threat to the Comcast acquisition) to make a mid-season switch was obviously correct, how dare they question it?

Stay tuned for more whining.

via Broadcasting & Cable.

 
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