Leno vs. Conan: The End of an Era

I don’t like Jay Leno and don’t watch Conan’s Tonight Show (except the William Shatner clips):

I’ve only been following NBC vs. Leno vs. Conan at the most cursory level. But it strikes me that this very embarrassing, public episode represents a bookend of sorts to the era of network TV, which began in the 1950s and is now definitively over.

Leno was moved into prime time in part to save money (vs. an hour-long dramatic show). That logic was driven by declining ad revenues from fracturing audiences. TV is still the largest single mass medium by far but online is gaining:

As people desert TV because of poor quality shows and content, there’s pressure to produce cheaper shows (most of which are crap). That crap in turn alienates audiences, who flee TV and that exacerbates the whole cycle.

Conan will get $30 or $40 million and likely wind up on ABC or Fox in the fall. Leno will return to his old slot only to fail. President of NBC Entertainment Jeff Zucker will be forced to resign over the whole fiasco.

4 Responses to “Leno vs. Conan: The End of an Era”

  1. Kyle Kazak Says:

    Greg, nice predictions at the end! Those video statistics are actually pretty amazing, Google/YouTube have almost a 40% market share!

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Thanks. Zucker is a smart guy and may not be forced to resign. But this is a pretty big fiasco for NBC and I don’t think Leno will recover.

  3. Joe Says:

    “Zucker is a smart guy”? C’mon, Greg. Zucker is an idiot–not to put too fine a point on it–responsible almost singlehandedly for the demise of NBC’s television division. Not to get into details, but the entertainment industry is one of the two businesses in America where failure, incompetence, corruption, nepotism and greed translate into success–the other, of course, being banking.

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    Historically he’s done well for NBC. I actually heard a Harvard Biz Prof defend the whole Leno in Prime Time move on a cost basis.

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