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NBC Tries to Stop the Bleeding


Network changes up programming after disappointing fall.


NBC (GE) is trailing ABC (DIS) and CBS (CBS) in the ratings.

After some reshuffling -- vice president of entertainment Teri Weinberg, studio president Katherine Pope and alternative programming head Craig Plestis were all shown the door -- an unlikely survivor has emerged.

Jay Leno, whose Tonight Show contract is set to expire in 2009, will remain with the network. His new talk show will begin airing next fall at 10:00 p.m.

The terms of Leno's deal are unknown, but sources indicate it will include several seasons and a significant pay hike due to the program's primetime slot. For the struggling NBC, which will now have one less hour of programming to worry about, it's welcome news.

Meanwhile, for Late Night host Conan O'Brien and the Tonight Show's heir apparent , it's a mixed blessing. Having to go head to head with Leno is no longer a concern - but some wind could be knocked out of his sails if viewers have had their fill of late-night comedy by the time Leno signs off.

In spite of solid fare like 30 Rock and The Office -- and despite the shakeup in managment after a fall season that saw a 14% slide in ratings and boasted not a single program in the top 20 (save for Sunday Night Football) -- NBC is considering some profound changes.

According to the Associated Press, Zucker has said NBC has considered curbing the number of hours -- or even days -- of programming each week. "Can we continue to program 22 hours of primetime?" he asked rhetorically. "Three of our competitors don't. Can we afford to program 7 nights a week? One of our competitors doesn't."

But rather than going back to the drawing board, Zucker and the network he presides over might be better served by a less novel approach: More quality shows. It's hard to top the Nielsens with Christian Slater vehicles like My Own Worst Enemy and dissapointing reboots like Knight Rider.

And those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Click through to see some NBC shows that never stood a chance.

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