Media in Transition: The Jay Leno Show


The TV revolution is not coming. It’s here. Jay Leno is leading it. At least, that’s the impression  you get if you read the Time magazine story, “Jay Leno Is Shrinking Your TV.”   Jay’s Monday-through-Friday prime time ten p.m. comedy, variety show, which will be a lot like his Tonight Show gig, is an NBC solution to the problems accompanying the changing world of TV. 

The subject is so big, especially when you bring in the newspapers,  that I can’t approach doing it justice with just one blog post.  That’s why you will be getting a series of reports on how local media is being affected by the realities of today’s media world. We will start with the Leno change because it does represent the problems faced by  NBC and the rest of the media world.

Drew Rhodes, WLTZ Vice President and General Manager, COlumbus, GA (Courtesy: WLTZ)

Drew Rhodes, WLTZ Vice President and General Manager, Columbus, GA (Courtesy: WLTZ)

WLTZ Vice President and General Manager Drew Rhodes,  whose station will be carrying the Leno show in the Columbus area,  agrees with the Time assertion that the Leno move is a gamble.   I asked him what he thought about the NBC experiment.

“Dick,” he says, “I think that it is just that, an experiment.  However, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I’m very interested to see how Leno plays out.  He has a following.  Can he retain them and pick up more to compete with other prime broadcasts?  I really hope so.”

NBC admits that economics is a factor in its decision. It’s cheaper to produce the Leno show than scripted dramas and comedies that have been running at ten p.m.

“I understand the cost cutting measure,” says Drew. ” All broadcast television companies and parent networks are dealing with the economics at work today.  That does not necessarily mean two years from now, if the economy has returned to 2007 numbers, that we can not loosen the belts somewhat.”

Right now, though, those belts are still being tightened at TV stations and newspapers all over the country.  There are a number of reasons, but one of  the largest is the migration of people to the Internet to get their news.  We’ll look at that and more as we delve into the changing media world. Stay tuned.


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