Jay Leno’s New Year’s wishes to keep his current 10 pm show have not been answered. NBC announced during the TV Critics’ Association (TCA) Press Tour in Pasadena yesterday that the hour-long Jay Leno Show, which premiered during the 10 pm eastern time slot in mid-September as a lead-in to local news broadcasts, has been canceled. Though the show initially debuted to high numbers after Leno stepped down as The Tonight Show host in May after 17 years, it has seen a steep decline in ratings during recent months.
Since The Tonight Show with Jay Leno consistently brought NBC higher numbers than CBS’ Late Night with David Letterman, NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin announced that the network hopes to start a half-hour program with Leno at 11:35 pm, leading into the new version of The Tonight Show with current host Conan O’Brien at 12:05 am. This announcement comes days after numerous media outlets speculated that The Jay Leno Show was canceled. These rumors started after numerous NBC affiliates contacted Gaspin, saying they were upset the declining ratings for Leno’s new show were cutting into their advertising revenue.
Gaspin said that he wanted to give Leno’s new show at least a year’s try, but “While it was performing at acceptable levels, it did not meet our affiliates’ needs. My goal right now is to keep Jay [Leno], Conan [O’Brien] and Jimmy [Fallon] as part of our late-night lineup.” The network hopes to have the scheduling figured out by the time the Olympics start, and in the mean time, the network will once again start showing scripted and reality shows, in addition to Dateline, during the 10 o’clock hour.
Written by: Karen Benardello