Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Changing Universe

Now with extra-strength Add Ons.

As SAG holds meetings and sends out educational materials ahead of its strike vote, as AFTRA signs more cable shows, this happens.

NBC will keep Jay Leno five nights a week, but in prime time, competing not with David Letterman, but with shows like “CSI: Miami.”

The network will announce Tuesday that Mr. Leno’s new show will appear at 10 o’clock each weeknight in a format similar to “The Tonight Show,” which he has hosted since 1993.

So in the flash of a peacock feather, NBC erases five hours of scripted programming.

Fewer DGA jobs. Fewer WGA jobs. No SAG jobs. Just Jay Leno, holding forth on the "Tonight Show" stage, telling jokes, creating skits, interviewing guests.

Five nights a week.

NBC makes $50 million per year off of Leno's act now. Hard to say how much it will make when it subs out a large chunk of its prime-time schedule to him. (Certainly costs won't be hugely different ... although Jay will probably make more.)

This is the future, folks.

As networks' cartoon orders on Saturday and Sunday mornings faded away because advertisers would no longer underwrite them, we are now witnessing the end of traditional prime time schedules on network television. With broadcast networks becoming more like cable outlets every day, with time-shifting and video on demand becoming the norm, it's adios to the universe of network teevee as it's existed for the past fifty-plus years.

It's sh*tty. Like it or not, we'll adjust to sh*tty.

Add On: Here's the estimated cost of the new NBC prime time 10 p.m. weekly schedule:

Estimates are that Leno 2.0 may only cost $2M a week and result in 46 original shows, compared to the average $3 million per episode pricetag of scripted primetime dramas that air on average 22 original episodes.

Add On Too: A former I.A. Business Rep called me up to say that erasing all the usual filmed entertainment for the hour-long Leno show will also impact IATSE employment in a big way. I didn't stress this in the post above, but it's true. Jobs for a host of IA locals will be going away. Yeowch.

Welcome to 21st century network programming.


Anonymous said...

5 less hours a week of overrated and overpaid crap scripted fare! Awesome!

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