They've just thrown a HUGE curve ball into the game!
Many people were expecting Jay Leno to leave NBC once his contract at the Tonight Show was up and he was unceremoniously dumped to make room for Conan O'Brien, the long-running program's new host.
Insiders predicted that the other networks would offer Leno, still a ratings draw after all these years, way too much money and he'd easily be wooed over to a competing net.
Well, everyone was WRONG!
According to the very reputable New York Times, NBC is going to announce that Leno is staying at the peacock network and they are giving him a nightly show at 10 P.M.
He's basically going to do the same show he's been doing - only earlier.
In other words, he just got a promotion!!!!!!!!
And he probably is getting paid quite handsomely for it.
No broadcast network has ever before offered this type of nightly show during prime time.
Conan and Letterman must be PISSED!!!
The move is a win-win situation for NBC, who is currently fourth in the ratings - behind ABC, Fox and CBS. Not only do they keep Leno and keep a competitor from getting him, but since they're sucking so hard in the ratings, they have nothing to lose by giving up their 10 P.M. time slot. In fact, they have a lot to gain!
The cost-cutting network, who has recently been laying off hundreds of employees, may be able to greatly reduce costs of developing and producing other prime-time shows by having Leno on at 10.
And, Jay is bound to bring in viewers AND advertising. AND he will help all the NBC affiliates boost their nightly news ratings.