NBC pulling plug on Jay Leno's primetime show after Olympics - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

NBC pulling plug on Jay Leno's primetime show after Olympics

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PASADENA, Calif. (CBS 8/CNS) – A top NBC official announced Sunday that "The Jay Leno Show" will no longer air in prime time after the Olympic Games begin on Feb. 12.

Universal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin said he has proposed that a half-hour version of the Leno show to air at 11:35 p.m., followed by "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" at 12:05 a.m. and "Later with Jimmy Fallon at 1:05 a.m., but an agreement has not been reached.

"As much as I would like to say we have a done deal, I cannot say that now," Gaspin said during NBC's portion of the Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena.

Although the ratings for Leno met NBC's goals, they did not satisfy the network's affiliates, prompting the change, Gaspin said.

NBC announced Sunday it had greenlighted a large slate of dramas for the 2010-2011 season, including a remake of "The Rockford Files." Other pilots that have been ordered include unknown and unproven titles such as "Undercovers," "Chase," "Kindreds," and "Love Bites."

But the February reshuffle leaves a massive programming vacuum at NBC. Some analysts have theorized that reality shows now airing before 10 p.m. might be temporarily aired later in the evening, with new comedy shows getting a break in the 8 p.m. hour.

The reshuffle will happen after NBC finishes airing the 2010 Winter Olympics. O'Brien has not yet signed on, and has dropped hints about finding an alternative network, such as the fox network.

Leno also has pulled the so-called "Fox card," joking last week that if his NBC gig was cancelled, it would allow Leno time to travel, and the weather at Fox "is beautiful at this time of year."

The shuffle is being driven in large part by complaints from NBC affiliates across the country who have lost viewers and advertising revenue because of Leno's performance in the 10 p.m. slot, according to The Times.

The once-dominant "Peacock Network" has seen its ratings languish in recent years, and the move of bringing Leno to the 10 p.m. hour was seen by TV critics as a plan by NBC to replace high-cost dramas with the comparatively-cheap Leno production.

The matter has even surfaced in Washingtion, where regulators are examining a proposed sale of NBC from General Electric to Comcast. Because the Leno move to 10 p.m. saved GE money but severely hurt NBC affiliates owned by other companies, NBC affiliates were pressuring the network to reverse the move.

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