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Why NBC's Late-Night Mess Could Be Great for TV Fans

by Mindy Monez January 11, 2010 1:23 pm
Why NBC's Late-Night Mess Could Be Great for TV Fans While NBC's decision to move Jay Leno back to 11:35 PM and to try to make Conan accept a Leno-Fallon sandwich timeslot is aggravating for Conan fans and embarrassing for everyone involved (and may leave sad little Carson Daly unemployed), we're pretty psyched for it. If Conan ends up leaving NBC (and he really should) for Fox, as is being reported he likely will, that's great for Conan fans. And even if he stays, getting Leno out of primetime and freeing up all those timeslots is nothing but good news for a floundering NBC. Here's why.

First and Foremost: It Gets Leno Out of Primetime
That's an obvious fact, but it's also possibly the best part of this whole debacle. Now we can go back to ignoring him like we used to.

Scrambling to Fill all Those Timeslots Could Lead to Great Things, Creatively
With five extra hours to fill every week, NBC is considering bringing Friday Night Lights back as early as March 1, and there's less competition for shows like Chuck to stay alive, especially after a strong (but not earth-shattering) 7 million-viewer premiere last night. They've also ordered approximately 47 million new pilots, and it's potentially exciting -- or at least potentially popular -- stuff: shows from J.J. Abrams, David E. Kelley, David Shore, Jerry Bruckheimer, Cindy Chupak, a Prime Suspect remake from one of the guys behind Kings, a show starring David Tennant -- it just goes on and on and makes it look by all accounts that the network is trying very hard, and very smartly, to restore itself to its heyday. And that's all due to this late-night disaster.

Fox May Give Conan a Better Timeslot and More Creative Wiggle Room
Not having to do "The Tonight Show" could allow Conan to loosen up and do the absurdist show he used to, and besides, Fox is on crack -- it's not like the network of Jack Bauer and More to Love is going to tell Conan he can't do a nipple-slapping string dance, among other things. They also have the option of giving him an 11 o'clock timeslot because of the 10 o'clock news, which would not only give him a half-hour lead on Leno, but also help me go to bed earlier. Though it does annoyingly conflict with The Daily Show, because we just can't outright win here.

It'll Give Jimmy Fallon a Bigger Spotlight
He's sort of been the forgotten caboose of NBC late night since Leno took 10 PM, but he does a funny little show that's all his own. Maybe now that NBC will (probably) only have two after-hours shows, Jimmy will get the critical and network attention he really does merit.

And Hey, Maybe It'll Lead to Heroes Being Canceled
In all likelihood, we are stuck with another year of Heroes. But if Conan decides not to take the Fox opportunity and just opts for a paid four-year vacation instead, NBC reportedly may have to pay him $80 million, while at the same they're going to lose money on the Olympics this year, for the first time in forever, because of the bad economy. Heroes has slashed its budget, yes, but it's still not cheap to make, and it has shit for ratings, not to mention nothing but bad press critically. In light of all the drama pilots ordered from the folks mentioned above, certainly at least one of them will be deemed more profitable -- and less embarrassing -- to put in place of Heroes at 9 PM on Mondays, right?

Your thoughts? Betting odds on a new Late Shift movie being made? Unleash it all in the comments.

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