Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jay Leno: Advertisers balk at paying prime time prices for late night ratings

AdAge.com is reporting that advertisers are skeptical of "The Jay Leno Show," the former "Tonight" host's forthcoming 10 PM broadcast. Media buyers are "balking at paying prime-time prices for what they view as late-night ratings," says AdAge, which quotes an exec as stating that Leno "will guarantee NBC a third-place finish [behind ABC and CBS] in whatever hour he's in. He will do on par with what he did in late night."

NBC is counting on the Leno show's dirt-cheap production costs compared with even the lowest-budgeted 10 PM drama. They also tout the host's willingness to do live ads as another advertiser-friendly feature, and claim the comedian's topical humor makes the show "DVR-proof," meaning that audiences are less likely to watch it days later, when they can fast-forward through the commercials.

Meanwhile, Deadline Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke reported that booking wars between Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien are "already getting ugly," and that NBC execs have "demanded that Leno back off booking A-list celebrities because it would encroach on O'Brien's turf... [The] bosses are putting Leno under pressure to think outside the box and help come up with a format significantly different from the one he’s slavishly followed for 17 years." NBC prez Jeff Zucker's response? "No. Please. There's no truth to that."