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NBC Halfheartedly Denies Plans to Cancel Leno

Update: TMZ: Conan Out, Leno In at 11:30?

Responding to a report from FTVlive.com today claiming that NBC was to "pull the plug" on The Jay Leno Show (and an interview with that report's author on KNX radio), the network has released the following faint praise and non-denial:


"Jay Leno is one of the most compelling entertainers in the world today. As we have said all along, Jay’s show has performed exactly as we anticipated on the network. It has, however, presented some issues for our affiliates. Both Jay and the show are committed to working closely with them to find ways to improve the performance."

Would it surprise anyone in the slightest if the network did spike Leno? Not given its sliding ratings, those 18 pilots NBC just ordered, ceaseless complaining from affiliates, and that joke Jay made this week about his next job in fast food. Jeff Zucker has a meeting with the network's affiliates board later this month, at which the topic of the show's future will surely come up. And the Times' Bill Carter speculates that a logical time to change their primetime schedule would be after next month's Olympics — if only NBC had any shows that could plausibly take Leno's place right now (they do not).

Would it surprise anyone in the slightest if the network did spike Leno? Not given its sliding ratings, those 18 pilots NBC just ordered, ceaseless complaining from affiliates, and that joke Jay made this week about his next job in fast food. Jeff Zucker has a meeting with the network's affiliates board later this month, at which the topic of the show's future will surely come up. And the Times' Bill Carter speculates that a logical time to change their primetime schedule would be after next month's Olympics — if only NBC had any shows that could plausibly take Leno's place right now (they do not).

So is cancellation imminent? We figured NBC would wait a few months to see how those 18 pilots turned out (which even FTVlive's reporter conceded was still a possibility in his radio interview today). Considering NBC's hilarious denial, though, maybe not.

NBC responds to 'Leno Show' cancellation report [Live Feed/HR]
NBC Denies Rumor of ‘Leno’ Cancellation [NYT]

Photo: Courtesy of NBC