CBS Is Counting On Leno To Fail In Prime Time

You know how much it sucks to lose a $5 bill, right? Well, times that by 11 million and you get an idea of how CBS president and CEO Les Moonves felt during the first quarter of the year, when his company lost $55.3 million.

But all is not lost in the Eye Empire, thanks to NBC’s ill-advised move to bring Jay Leno to prime time this Fall. On her Deadline Hollywood Daily blog, Nikki Finke reported that Moonves said, in so many words, that things will get better for CBS not because the network will generate better shows, but because NBC is settling for Leno rather than scripted dramas or comedies.

(Moonves) attributed that to developments like NBC’s decision to strip Jay Leno’s show at 10 PM weekdays. He noted that CBS ratings are up strongly among key audiences, and advertising dollars and rates will follow that growth. “In addition, we think we can increase the shift of dollars to CBS, because of NBC’s decision to exit scripted programming at 10 PM. Even if total volume is down at the upfront, we’re confident that we will take share and maintain or increase our revenue.”

Them are fighting words. Now watch Leno upstage Moonves by suddenly becoming funny for the first time ever and stealing all of CBS’s ad revenue.

CBS Posts Big 1st-Q Loss But Moonves Upbeat About 2nd Half Of 2009; Predicts CBS Scripted Will Benefit From NBC/Leno [Deadline Hollywood Daily]

(Photo: moeberg)