Per NBC, Jay Leno will move back to his 11:35 p.m. slot, while the person who replaced him, Conan O’Brien, will move to 12:05 a.m. The reason for this sudden move is to respond to shrinking ratings and affiliates whose 11 p.m. (or 10 p.m.) newscasts are suffering. The time changes of The Jay Leno Show and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien will occur the day after NBC concludes the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver February 28.
Personally, I’d like Leno better at 11:35 than I did at 10. And from 1992 to last May, he had been on at 11:35 unless the show is pre-empted by the Olympics or midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Rather than cancel the struggling show, NBC will give Leno a half-hour show as a lead-in for The Tonight Show. The change will be better — the ratings of NBC affiliates with newscasts will improve, Leno gets to keep his show, and Headlines will still be there, even on a half-hour show. It’s a win-win situation.