The rumors about the demise of the prime-time Jay Leno Show on NBC and his move back to an 11:35 p.m. time slot are true, at least according to Variety, which reports “insiders” are confirming the shuffle.
What's not clear, then, is what would happen to Conan O'Brien's short time at the helm of the Tonight Show. Variety states that he could stay on for a 12:05 a.m. slot — with Leno taking up only a half hour — or shop himself as a late-night host for a show on ABC or Fox. The publication also states that NBC could feasibly pull him from its airwaves while still paying him under his contract.
Meanwhile Fox 11 news caught Leno on Melrose Avenue after the taping of one his signature “Jay Walking” segments. He seemed genuinely in the dark about what would happen, saying he'd keep the media posted.
His 10 p.m. show has been a ratings disaster, although NBC argued from the start that if ratings dipped the talk program would still be a success because it's so much cheaper to produce than a drama.
But Thursday's rumblings happened as affiliate stations complained that Leno's prime-time ratings dip was bringing them low “lead-in” numbers for their local news shows.