Consensus Against NBC's Jay Leno Experiment Grows As Local Affiliates Feel Ratings Pinch

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Photo: Courtesy of NBC

Last month, Bill Carter of the New York Times wondered if NBC's decision to hand over their 10 p.m. time slot five nights a week was a "complete calamity" or an "utter disaster." While the jury is still out, rumblings at the affiliate level are starting to tip the scales in favor of "utter disaster." During an investor and analyst conference call yesterday, Gray Television president Bob Prather — whose company's portfolio includes 10 NBC stations nationwide — told everyone on the line that the "Jay Leno experiment" is not working and that "It’s definitely hurting as a lead-in" for local 11 p.m. news programs (which, not so coincidentally, are huge profit generators for affiliates). Yet Prather's ire wasn't directed solely at Leno as a person; he spread the wealth and took potshots at unnamed NBC executives (*cough* Jeff Zucker *cough*) for their unwillingness to throw the white flag of surrender and move Leno back to 11:35 because of their "egos." Before this story, we'll admit that we had never heard of Prather, but we sincerely hope that this isn't the last time that we hear from this free-thinking thorn in the Peacock's side.

Gray TV president says Leno show is failure [Television Business Report]