In news predicted by me (and just about anyone else) since Thursday, NBC announced it is moving Jay Leno’s prime-time show back to late night (at 10:35 p.m. Central) and cutting it to a half-hour. The move also means Conan O’Brien goes to 11:05 p.m. and Jimmy Fallon heads to 12:05 a.m. The moves begin after the Winter Olympics.
The news was made official today at the Winter Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. by Jeff Gaspin, who heads NBC Universal’s entertainment division.
While the move gets Leno out of prime-time, it comes at the expense of both Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon. Leno’s move to 10:35 p.m. pushes Conan O’Brien’s and Jimmy Fallon’s into lower homes-using-television, or HUT time periods.
Despite the announcement, both Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Fallon have yet to sign off on the deals, which take effect immediately after the Winter Olympics conclude. There are reports Mr. O’Brien isn’t too keen about being bumped back a half-hour.
Affiliates seemed to be pleased by this move, as many of them were unhappy with Leno’s show leading into their late newscasts. However, they are appreciative of Leno’s program and hard work ethic.
Still, no word on what will fill the last hour of prime-time at NBC.