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‘The Jay Leno Show’ Canceled Just In Time For NBC’s Winter Olympics Coverage

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The tagline in the above ad for The Jay Leno Show‘s premiere last September says, “It’s about time.” That echoes the sentiment that most people have about the show’s cancellation. Yesterday, as predicted, NBC made the obvious and long overdue decision to finally axe The Jay Leno Show after a string of complaints from its affiliates. The major grievance they had was that the talk show served as a weak lead-in to the news. Generally, the much coveted 1opm eastern/9pm central time slot is reserved popular dramas like CSI.

At a press conference on Sunday, Jeff Zucker, the man responsible for this whole debacle, was nowhere to be found. Instead, NBCU chairman Jeff Gaspin released this statement:

While performing at acceptable levels for the network, it did not meet our affiliate needs. We realized we had to make a change.”

That change will take place on February 12, right when NBC’s coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics begin, an event that they hope will save the ever struggling network.

Yes, because of The Jay Leno Show‘s extremely low cost, ratings have never been essential for the show to be a success for NBC, but, that being said, it turned out to be a disaster of epic proportions. Its ratings have been consistently bad –like, really bad– and now the peacock network can no longer turn a blind eye. It has even affected Conan O’Brien at The Tonight Show. For the first time in many years, David Letterman has been clobbering his NBC rival.

Now NBC has a major mess to clean up. The contracts of Leno, O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon are all iron clad. That’s why the network wants to let them all keep their shows as promised, but merely switch them around. Maybe a half hour of Leno at his original Tonight Show time slot, and then followed by O’Brien and Fallon. And where does Carson Daly fit into this mess, you may be asking? well, with this new schedule, his late night program could end up being a lead-in for The Today Show. Or, if NBC is smart, they’ll just cancel the damn thing. It’s no fun singing to empty tables. Just ask Leno. More updates to come as this drama unfolds.

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