NBC’s big move of the fall–putting Jay Leno against the best scripted TV the other networks have to offer–may turn out to be all about the second half of the year when franchises such as CSI go into reruns.
In an interview with Variety, NBC Entertainment co-chief Marc Graboff says that the network thinks the show is “TiVo-proof” because it’s topical and hits in the hour that has become prime-time for DVR viewing. The topical part is important, especially when the other shows are in reruns.
Leno said something similar in this month’s GQ:
“CSI: Miami, Without a Trace—these are shows that have a good, older audience that is locked in. And I said to NBC, “Do some research. If this is something you guys think you can make money with, let me know.” And they said, “Yeah.” Is this show going to blow CSI: Miami off the air? No. But when everything else is in reruns, we’ll be topical. We’ll be talking about what’s going on right now. And that might help us win, and that might help us be successful.”
A slice of Graboff’s interview:
(CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves said) he’d bet that their 10 p.m. crime drama would beat Leno head-to-head in ratings. “CSI: Miami” in an original will indeed probably win. But “CSI: Miami” is only on 22 weeks a year in originals. Jay’s going to be on 46 weeks a year in originals. You take a repeat of “CSI: Miami” against an original Leno and I don’t know he’d be willing to make that bet again. You take profitability in the time period, I don’t know if he’d be willing to make that bet either. “CSI: Miami costs CBS many millions of dollars for an original episode. The cost of one episode of the Leno show is 10% of that. Our ratings don’t have to be as high for us to drive revenue.
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