Leno Might Get Half-Hour Show, With Conan And Fallon To Follow

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Here’s what NBC’s new late night schedule might look like, according to senior executive sources at the network, who spoke to the New York Times:

11:35 p.m. The Jay Leno Show

12:05 p.m. The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien

1:05 a.m. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

So Conan will keep the Tonight Show name. But what about his dignity?

According to a front page story that will be printed in tomorrow’s New York Times’ Bill Carter, the agreement is still in the works. But it’s “essentially in place.”

There is no timetable yet to issue a final announcement of the plan because contractual details remain to be worked out.

On Jan. 21, NBC is meeting with their affiliates stations, which air evening newscasts after Jay’s show and have been unhappy with their lead-in ratings.

Conan’s numbers are crumbling, too. Before he left the 11:30 time slot, Jay was winning viewer numbers against Late Night with David Letterman. But Conan is trailing by two million viewers a night. He’s even failing against Jay’s old youngster demographic stats (the one that advertiser’s like!). Conan was supposed to bring NBC more of those 18-35ers.

According to the Times:

Both shows were being keenly watched by an industry struggling with demographic shifts, declining audiences and escalating costs. NBC-Universal, the parent of NBC, was sold last month to Comcast, and one person with knowledge of the negotiations said that NBC’s poor performance — it languishes in last place in prime time — was a driving reason for the sale.

Read more, in which Carter explains how NBC is trying to keep both Jay and Conan from leaving for ABC or Fox. Both networks have tried to woo them in the past.

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