An emailer asked recently when is NBC going to come to its senses and put Jay Leno back at 11:30 p.m. and end the"Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" disaster.
It is hard to say. NBC affiliates, like Channel 2 in Buffalo, are hurting because Leno's nightly 10 p.m. program has been a ratings disaster leading into the 11 p.m. news. And the local news ratings in turn hurt O'Brien's ratings.
According to ABC, "Nightline" actually finished in second place in the fourth quarter behind CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman." A release said ratings for "Nightline" grew by 1 percent in total viewers from a year ago, while "Tonight" slipped 49 percent and posted its lowest total viewer and adult 25-54 deliveries in at least 17 years.
The low ratings for Leno and O'Brien have prompted speculation that NBC has considered moving Leno from 10 p.m. to late night after its Vancouver Olympics coverage in February.
However, it is only speculation. And network executives said before the fall season began that Leno's show was going to get a full season before any decision was made about whether it would return.
Network executives don't like to admit mistakes so there is no telling what NBC is going to do. But it would be an Olympic-sized mistake to do nothing come fall.
-- Alan Pergament