“The Jay Leno Show” is officially leaving its 10 PM time slot on February 12, NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin confirmed on Sunday morning.
“I can confirm what many of you are reporting, starting February 12, ‘The Jay Leno Show’ will no longer air at 10 PM,” Gaspin told reporters at NBC’s Television Critics Association session in Pasadena.
Gaspin confirmed the network wants to make “Leno” shorter and air it at 11:35 PM, with “The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien” at 12:05 AM and “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” at 1:05 AM. But the deal is not done.
“As much as I’d like to tell you we have a done deal, that’s not true. The talks are still ongoing,” he said.
Gaspin was later asked how Leno and O’Brien reacted to the news, and he offered a few details.
“Both Jay and Conan and Jimmy were incredibly gracious and professional and they all said they understood the situation that I was in,” he said. “Beyond that was a private conversation.”
Gaspin would not comment on whether all three men or any of them individually had agreed to the time changes.
In the meantime, for the rest of the season, NBC will fill the slot with programs including “Dateline.”
Angela Bromstad, President of Primetime Enertainment for NBC, said “Parenthood” will likely fill at least one of the nights and potentially a pilot that is ready early for the network – “Rex” – starring David Tennant, the former star of the U.K. series “Dr. Who.”
Additionally, the executives were asked if other shows could fill the 10 PM slot and Gaspin said “Friday Night Lights” could fill it in March in addition to some episodes of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” which airs on sister network USA.
Gaspin said “The Jay Leno Show” was performing as the network anticipated, and made money for the network, but the problem came from NBC’s affiliates, who received lower than expected ratings for their news programs following “Leno.”
“I think people just have a lot of choice at 10 o’clock… what really happened were there were just so many other choices that people thought were better,” Gaspin said.
When asked about Carson Daly, Gaspin said he will continue at NBC, but didn’t clarify in what capacity.
“Carson is going to be part of NBC regardless of what happens,” he said.