Bill Carter’s rundown in today’s Times of all the things ruined by Jay Leno’s jump to 10 p.m. runs under the generous headline “Debate Over Effects of Leno’s Show.” The only point of contention, though, seems to be whether NBC’s new schedule is a “complete calamity” or an “utter disaster,” as it’s described in the piece by anonymous TV insiders.
To recap! The Jay Leno Show is now pulling about 5 million viewers a night, which would get a drama canceled at that hour; Law and Order: SVU, which was moved to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays to accommodate Leno, is now finishing last in its time slot; the critically tolerated, Vulture-beloved Southland was canceled; local NBC affiliates are steamed because ratings for their 11 p.m. newscasts are down by 10-30 percent, owing to having Jay as a lead-in; and Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon, too, have smaller lead-in audiences, and both are falling behind their late-night counterparts at CBS. Also not helping matters is the fact that none of NBC’s other new shows is a hit. Peacock execs say they’re reserving judgment for now and that they’ll reassess when they see averages for a full year. We’re gonna call this one for “calamity.”