If rumors are true, NBC has had all it wants of Jay Leno, but Fox is ready to give him a show.
Fox would give Leno a time slot that starts 30-minutes earlier than The Tonight Show, and give viewers an interesting alternative to watching inane local news.
Even though Leno has consistently delivered top ratings in late night, NBC is aiming at a younger demographic. Younger viewers are worth more ad revenue. Leno’s numbers are quite a bit higher than Jimmy Fallon’s who is on tap to replace Leno as Tonight Show host, but Fallon’s fans watch online much more than Leno’s.
Fallon has about 632,000 viewers when Late Night is broadcast on NBC. A recent Fallon YouTube video has 15 million views. If NBC could get a small fraction of Fallon’s YouTube fan to watch him on The Tonight Show, his ratings will top what Leno is getting.
NBC is clearly worried about Jimmy Kimmel overtaking Leno’s ratings. Kimmel’s ratings are growing. Leno’s are declining. In January Leno had 3.3 million viewers. Kimmel had 3.1 million.
The chairman of the Fox affiliate board, Steve Pruett told the New York Post, “If Fox were to present the right business plan, the affiliate board would be interested.”