The Earlier Tonight Show With Jay Leno
NBC intends to turn over its 10 00 p.m. hour to Jay Leno, published reports said today (Tuesday), citing network sources. An official announcement is expected by this afternoon. The reports indicated that the network plans to make few changes to the show and that it made the decision primarily to avoid losing Leno to a competing network. Today's New York Times observed that the decision will likely "reap an enormous financial benefit from this move." It noted that although Leno is expected to receive a salary of some $30 million a year, the network currently pays about $15 million a week to fill the 10 00 p.m. hour. Leno's show, it said, will probably cost about $2 million a week. (The Wall Street Journal estimated the savings at about $25 million a week, less Leno's salary.) But one industry exec told today's Washington Post , "You don't make this move unless you have a whole lot of holes to fill. ... This is an indictment of the complete collapse of [NBC's primetime] over the last four or five years."