NBC will give affiliates detailed information daily about what happened on Jay Leno’s prime time comedy hour, so stations can tailor promotional messages that are coordinated with Leno’s content that night. In addition, Leno will coordinate times within his show where he’ll intro the 11 o’clock news promo, with words along the lines of, “And here’s a look at what’s coming up on your local news.”
NBC will give affiliates detailed information daily about what happened on Jay Leno’s prime time comedy hour, so stations can tailor promotional messages that are coordinated with Leno’s content that night, says Scot Chastain, senior vice president of affiliate marketing and development for NBC.
Appearing at the Promax/BDA conference in New York, Chastain also told TVNewsCheck that Leno will coordinate times within his show where he’ll intro the 11 o’clock news promo, with words along the lines of, “And here’s a look at what’s coming up on your local news,” Chastain says.
Chastain is one of few Promax panelists from the broadcast side of the business. Indeed, at a well-attended session, John Miller, chief marketing officer for NBC Universal Television Group asked audience members who were from TV stations to raise their hands. Only one did.
Chastain says NBC has been letting affiliates know about its Leno plans via e-mail and and teleconferences. He also said that when NBC met with its affiliates in May, the network spent two hours giving affiliates demographic research and other material to assuage any fears affiliates had that Leno was that big of a risk at 10 o’clock.
“We’ve given them a ton of research and affiliates have done their own,” Chastain says
Nonetheless, the Leno move to primetime will be the biggest strategic move any network has made in years. And it has risks. Chastain admits the audience Leno will inherit on a Tuesday night will be “radically different” than the audience on a Friday. But Chastain says if Leno keeps his older core audience, it will be a perfect demographic for local newscasts, which also skew old.
Promoting Leno’s move is “our No. 1 priority,” Chastain says, noting that Leno will be traveling to some markets to cut promos, and inviting stations out to Los Angeles to cut custom spots for others.
Leno has always had a reputation for helping out affiliates with personalized spots or market visits. “Whatever you want him to do, he’ll do,” Chastain says. “He’s absolutely fabulous to work with.”
Affiliates also have had input into how the show will flow quarter-hour by quarter-hour.
NBC is already hyping Lenos 10 p.m berth nightly with interstitials or short on-screen promos reminding viewers he’s coming. In addition, Chastain says, NBC plans other promotions that will visually link places like Los Angeles Highway 10 or a supermarket’s Aisle 9 to Leno’s move to the 10 p.m. (9 Central) time slot. The campaign will rev up in August, Chastain says.
One of the network’s first challenges, Chastain says, was to explain to affiliates and advertisers the Leno show “is a primetime comedy, not The Tonight Show moving to 10. We have stressed that to affiliates. Now we have to get that message delivered to consumers.”