Is KXAN TV (NBC) happy with losing Jay Leno at 9 p.m. five nights a week?
“No doubt,” says Eric Lassberg, president and general manager at KXAN. At the end of the Winter Olympics, NBC will have five new hours of programming at 9 p.m. and Leno returns to the Tonight Show in a full hour-long program, but will former KXAN TV news viewers return?
“I am highly confident that the new line-up will increase our lead-in and result in more viewership at 10 p.m., particularly post Olympics,” Lassberg says. “It is our job now to prove the benefits of watching our newscasts day in and day out so we retain the sampling from the Olympics and stronger lead in.”
With Leno in the 9 p.m. slot five nights a week, KXAN had slipped back in the back, and KEYE TV (CBS) had taken over the #2 position at 10 p.m. during the November sweeps in what came to be called “The Leno Effect”. NBC stations across the nation watched their late news ratings drop by a third after Jay Leno took over the hour leading up to the news.
Now, NBC is announcing new programming in hopes of attracting the audience that Jay Leno lost. The new schedule starts March 1.
The new drama series “Parenthood” will premiere on Tuesday, March 2 (9-10 p.m.) and the comedy panel series “The Marriage Ref” from Jerry Seinfeld will premiere Thursday, March 4 (9-10 p.m.) after its sneak preview on Sunday, February 28 (9:30-10 p.m.) following NBC’s coverage of the Closing Ceremony of the Winter Olympics,” an NBC news release says.
Not mentioned is what happens to Conan O’Brien? The assumption is that O’Brien is going away. Who would Lassberg rather have in the “Tonight” time slot? Conan O’Brien was supposed to capture the younger demographic, but Leno is a proven winner. “Not sure who I would rather have, but Leno beat Letterman, and Conan did not,” Lassberg says. “Conan had a weaker lead-in because of Leno 9-10 p.m. leading to a lower rated 10 p.m. news, so who really knows… One strong point in favor of Leno at 1035p is he has a long track history of performance.”
Another question is whether Leno can wrest away his former, and aging audience who fled to Letterman rather than watching O’Brien.
Here’s the full lineup. (All programs are new productions, unless otherwise noted):
Monday, March 1st
7-8 p.m. CHUCK (through May 24th)
8-10 p.m. LAW & ORDER (2-hour debut on a new night in its 20th season)
Monday, March 8th
8-9 p.m. TRAUMA (through May 24th)
9-10 LAW & ORDER (through May 24th)
Tuesday, March 2nd
7-9 p.m. THE BIGGEST LOSER (through May 25th)
9-10 p.m. PARENTHOOD (through May 25th)
Wednesday, March 3rd
7-8 p.m. MERCY (through May 19th)
8-9 p.m. LAW & ORDER: SVU (Repeat) (through May 12th)
9-10 p.m. LAW & ORDER: SVU (through May 26th)
THURSDAY (Comedy Night)
Thursday, March 4th
7-7:30 p.m. COMMUNITY (through May 20th)
7:30-8 p.m. PARKS & RECREATION (through May 20th)
8-8:30 p.m. THE OFFICE (through May 20th)
8:30-9 p.m. 30 ROCK (through May 20th)
9-10 p.m. THE MARRIAGE REF (through May 20th)
Friday, March 5th
7-8 p.m. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? (through April 23rd) – A new game show.
8-10 p.m. DATELINE (through May 21st)
Friday, April 30th
7-8 p.m. FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (through May 28th)
Saturday, March 6th
7-8 p.m. THE BIGGEST LOSER (Repeat) (through May 22nd)
8-9 p.m. LAW & ORDER (Repeat) (through May 22nd)
9-10 p.m. LAW & ORDER: SVU (Repeat) (through May 29th)
Sunday, March 14th
6-7 p.m. DATELINE (through May 2nd)
7-8 p.m. MINUTE TO WIN IT (through May 2nd)
8-10 p.m. CELEBRITY APPRENTICE (through May 23rd)
Sunday, May 9th and May 23rd
6-8 p.m. DATELINE
What follows is NBC’s take on the new programs:
“Parenthood” is a one-hour drama inspired by the box-office comedy hit of the same name that debuts Tuesday, March 2 (10-11 p.m. ET). The re-imagined and updated production introduces audiences to the large and colorful yet imperfect Braverman family and features an all-star cast that includes Lauren Graham, Peter Krause, Craig T. Nelson, Erika Christensen, and Bonnie Bedelia among others. Serving as executive producers are Oscar winners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer (“A Beautiful Mind,” “Frost/Nixon”), Jason Katims ("Friday Night Lights") – who wrote the pilot episode -- and David Nevins (“Friday Night Lights,” “Arrested Development”). Emmy Award winner Thomas Schlamme ("The West Wing") is the director and executive producer of the pilot. "Parenthood" is from Imagine Television and Universal Media Studios.
"The Marriage Ref" – which has a special sneak preview following the Closing Ceremony of the Winter Olympics on February 28 -- is NBC's new comedy panel series about the unpredictable and hilarious institution commonly known as marriage. It features comedian/actor Tom Papa, who was personally selected by executive producer Jerry Seinfeld to host and serve as the "marriage ref." The show will premiere in its regular slot on Thursdays (10-11 p.m. ET) beginning March 4.
"The Marriage Ref" is produced by Seinfeld's Columbus 81 Productions and Ellen Rakieten Entertainment. Seinfeld, Ellen Rakieten ("The Oprah Winfrey Show"), Shed Media's Nick Emmerson ("Supernanny") and Jennifer O'Connell ("Supernanny"), Al Berman ("The Biggest Loser Live Finale,"
"The Celebrity Apprentice Live Finale"), Howard West ("Seinfeld") and George Shapiro ("Seinfeld") serve as executive producers. International distribution is by Endemol.
“Who Do You Think You Are?” premieres Friday, March 5 (8-9 p.m. ET) and gives viewers an up-close and personal look inside the family history of some of today’s most beloved and iconic celebrities. Among the celebrities featured are Matthew Broderick, Lisa Kudrow, Spike Lee, Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields and Emmitt Smith.
Ancestry.com is NBC’s official partner on the series. From executive producer Kudrow (“Friends,” “The Comeback”) -- in conjunction with her production company Is or Isn’t Entertainment and the U.K.’s Wall to Wall productions -- “Who Do You Think You Are?” is an adaptation of the hit BBC television documentary series created and executive-produced by Alex Graham.
“Who Do You Think You Are?” is produced by Wall to Wall productions (a Shed Media Company) in association with Is or Isn’t Entertainment.
Alex Graham and Lucy Carter from Wall to Wall and Lisa Kudrow, Dan Bucatinsky and Don Roos from Is or Isn’t Entertainment are the executive producers. Bryn Freedman is the co-executive producer.
All-American chef and television personality Guy Fieri ("Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives") will host NBC’s new game show “Minute to Win It” as it debuts on Sunday, March 14 (8-9 p.m. ET). Fieri will serve as master of ceremonies and will lead competitors through a series of simple, yet nerve-wracking games that can reward them a $1 million prize. Over eight one-hour episodes, competitors will face 10 challenges that escalate in level of difficulty using everyday household items. Each game has a 60-second time limit and failure to finish the task on time will eliminate the contestant. At various points throughout the game, the contestant can walk away with the money earned up to that point -- but it'll take nerves of steel to complete all 10 tasks to win $1 million.
“Minute to Win It” is produced by Universal Media Studios with Friday Television. Craig Plestis, Tim Puntillo (NBC's “Identity”), Mattias Olsson and Jock Millgardh serve as executive producers.
There you have it. The new NBC night time programming. Will it be a step forward?
© Jim McNabb