At the TCA session with NBC executives this morning, NBC Entertainment Chief Jeff Gaspin confirmed that Jay Leno would be exiting prime-time once the Olympics begin (last show 2/12) and will not return to primetime. Gaspin reiterated that although the ratings performance of Leno was meeting NBC’s expectations and the network was completely satisified “it did not meet our affiliates’ needs” when it came to being a lead-in for local news broadcasts.
Gaspin said that the moves had nothing to do with the Comcast deal.
Gaspin re-confirmed that what NBC has proposed is The Jay Leno Show at 11:35p, Tonight Show at 12:05a, and Fallon at 1:05a and said the “talks are still ongoing.” He indicated all the hosts have been given the weekend to mull it over.
Gaspin said that the Network was making money on the show, but the impact to the affiliates local news was worse than predicted in some cases.
“I would have liked nothing more than to give this a 52-week try,” Gaspin said. “Affiliates started calling, saying local news was being impacted more than expected. In some cases, they had the No. 1 news show and now they were No. 3.”