(from the Associated Press — read the entire article here)
NBC said Sunday it decided to pull the plug on the Jay Leno experiment when some affiliate stations considered dropping the nightly prime-time show, and the network is waiting to hear if Leno and "Tonight" host Conan O'Brien accept its new late-night TV plans.
"The Jay Leno Show," which airs at 10 p.m. EST, will end with the Feb. 12 beginning of the Winter Olympics, said NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin. Leno would return to his former 11:35 p.m. slot after the Olympics ended under the network's new plan, which also calls for O'Brien to retain his job with "Tonight" but at the later hour of 12:05 a.m. EST.
Jimmy Fallon and his "Late Night" would be pushed a half-hour later as well, to 1:05 a.m. EST.
"My goal is to keep Jay, Conan and Jimmy as our late-night lineup," Gaspin said, adding later that they "have the weekend to think about it" and discussions with them will resume Monday.
NBC had moved Leno to prime-time last year in order to keep him from leaving the company and keep a promise it had made to give O'Brien the "Tonight" show. The change was one of the most dramatic in prime-time television in a generation. It was also a roll of the dice at a time NBC was suffering in prime-time. It didn't even last six months.
Gaspin said the new proposal gives Leno what's important to him — telling jokes at a later hour — and O'Brien his top priority, retaining "Tonight."
"I hope and expect that before the Olympics begin, we'll have everything set. I can't imagine we won't have everything in place before then," Gaspin told a meeting of the Television Critics Association.