Is America ready for a prime-time late-night show?

We’re going to find out, probably in September 2009.

NBC, which spent the weekend hinting that it was going to restructure primetime, is poised to announce that when Jay Leno leaves the Tonight Show, they’re going to give him the 10pm ET hour weeknights.

While I can see how this helps NBC – once ER leaves the air, they don’t have a 10pm show worth a damn – this may hurt them, too.

Sure, Leno will be on at 10.  So why would anyone then stay up for Conan O’Brien at 11:35, Jimmy Fallon at 12:35, and Carson Daly at 1:35?  Is a 3-and-a-half hour talk/news block really going to work?

And even if they call the 11:35 show “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien”… since the Leno show will come from NBC Burbank and the O’Brien show will come from Universal City… which one will *really* be the Tonight Show?

I will give NBC credit.  This move will save them in primetime.  But will it, in the end, eventually end the late-night franchise that Steve Allen started over 50 years ago?  We shall, as they say, see…

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Author: Rob Hoffmann

Occasional blogger, full-time computer techie, radio producer (basketball, mostly), improv tech guy, generally nice person (if you ask me).

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