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How Fox Should Change Late Night

I have a plan for Fox to change the Late Night game – it extends beyond just hiring Conan – and in the process it would leverage their existing assets and create a significant stream of revenue for the Fox television network. This strategy would shake up the network TV landscape, and would offer Fox the opportunity to join the party at 11:35 PM. It wasn’t that long ago that Fox was as struggling start-up network, however today it is often ranked at the top of the ratings with blockbusters like American Idol, and 24, and yet after the local news at 10 PM the local affiliates transition to blocks of syndicated sitcoms. So, it’s time to shake things up and move past old Seinfeld repeats. Here’s the idea: build a national newscast to air at 11 PM using the resources of the Fox News Channel and then lead into Conan O’Brien at 11:35 PM. It’s the perfect opportunity to extend the Fox News Channel’s brand, to bring something new to the timeslot, and to set Conan up for a fair fight in late night. On the other Networks, the traditional 11 PM newscast has been produced by the local affiliates, however Fox already serves that niche at 10 PM and there is no other eleven o’clock National newscast on any of the broadcast networks. This would offer Fox the opportunity to differentiate its programming, showcase its news reporting talents, and to familiarize new audiences with the FNC brand, and then position them to lead into Conan at 11:35 PM. With that strategy, since Conan’s demos match up better...

The Changing Face of (Late Night) TV

Late Night’s faces are shifting, and in the process so is the business of television. Over the course of the past several months we’ve already watched late night television begin to evolve as Conan moved from New York to Los Angeles and handed the keys to Late Night over to Jimmy Fallon.  Now, of course, Jay Leno has handed the storied reigns of The Tonight Show to Mr. O’Brien – but unlike those late night shifts of the past this story doesn’t end here.  Instead, in September, Mr. Leno will re-emerge in a new prime-time show on NBC nightly at 10PM. So in essence, rather than a simple hosting transition, like that of Carson to Leno, this movement instead is more like a seismic shift for late night television.  (Actually, I’m not even sure that moniker is accurate anymore, as we’ll now see this variety-style show airing from 10PM to about 1 or 2 AM.)  With the addition of Leno’s new program to the landscape there are many questions, which are left to be answered in the coming months and years.  Can Leno be successful at that early hour? Who will get the big guests? What will differentiate the programs? Does the audience have enough interest for what amounts to 3 hours of talking heads on Network television each night? That said, however, potentially one of the most interesting questions that remains to be answered is that of what the impact will be on the Business of Television.  Consider for a moment, that if the strategy works NBC, will have taken a time slot that typically requires on average...