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Daily Variety: Leno moving back to late night

January 7, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
"Daily Variety" is matter-of-fact when it comes to Jay Leno's future. Jay Leno is moving back to late night.Rumors hit the Internet Thursday, saying Leno's 10 p.m. show is going away. NBC is choosing its words very carefully. "Variety" is being blunt.

"It is true. Jay Leno is returning to late night after the Winter Olympics. He'll be back at 11:35 p.m.," said Michael Schneider, television editor of "Daily Variety." "The big question now remains: What happens to Conan O'Brien?"

Conan O'Brien did not discuss the rumors that NBC is cancelling Jay Leno's primetime show. Leno did.

"Jay just didn't work out at 10 o'clock," said Schneider. "So, at that point, the affiliates started balking and NBC was facing a potential revolt. There was a point that was probably coming any day, where NBC stations weren't going to run Jay Leno anymore."

Leno's low ratings have reportedly hurt local news ratings for many NBC stations around the country.

According to "Daily Variety," NBC's solution is to move Leno back to where he used to be, but this time, only for half an hour, followed by O'Brien's "Tonight Show."

"So both will have to make sacrifices in NBC's scenario," said Schneider. "Now the question is whether or not Conan will go with this scenario. Leno's already agreed to do this. So it's all up to Conan now. So we'll be seeing in the coming days and weeks whether or not he agrees to this."

NBC says Jay's show has performed exactly as anticipated, but admits it has presented some issues for its affiliates.

NBC also expressed its commitment to keeping Conan O'Brien at the network, saying he's a valued part of its late-night lineup and "one of the most respected entertainers on television."