Boston’s NBC affiliate, WHDH, has decided not to air hometown comedian Jay Leno’s new 10 p.m. talk show. Instead, the network’s opting to run a 10 p.m. newscast instead.
NBC wasted no time in telling the station that by pre-empting the show they would be in violation of their contract with the network and that NBC would not hesitate to strip WHDH of its affiliate status.
Still, the Peacock is already making contingency plans in Boston to get Leno on the air, including switching a Telemundo station to NBC or even launching a new NBC-owned and operated station.
WHDH claims there’s a clause in their contract that would allow them to dump the 10 p.m. Leno show, which NBC’s general counsel (!) Rick Cotton vehemently denied, saying, “It is clear that WHDH is contractually required to air NBC programming as scheduled by the network.”
But the battle doesn’t stop there.
Sunbeam chief Ed Ansin, who owns WHDH, got in a few additional shots at the Boston-bred Leno, telling The Boston Globe, “We don’t think the Leno show is going to be effective in primetime. It will be detrimental to our 11 o’clock (newscast). It will be very adverse to our finances.”
Variety points out that NBC has a few options for affiliates it could seize in Bean Town should WHDH decide not to play ball, including onetime superstation WSBK that is now an independent operated by CBS.
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