rabble wrote:So... because the income for the spot after Leno's show had dropped, the affiliates were going to respond by preempting Leno's show, where the income had not dropped.
Hmm... the only thing I really take issue with here is your claim that Leno's show did not reduce advertising revenues.
That may be true compared to his old time slot, but compared to the prime-time programming he replaced, his show probably brought in a lot less money. (The graph on the left compares new vs. old viewership in a key demographic.)
If viewers are down, so are ad revenues.
NBC was OK with receiving a lot less prime-time ad revenue for Leno, because his show cost them a fraction of what they were paying for the drama series it replaced.
But the local stations didn't benefit from those cost savings. Their important time slot is the late local news, which cost as much as ever to produce, but was getting a significantly reduced audience because the viewers tuned away from Leno during the preceding hour.
On the network level: Significantly less revenue, offset by huge cost savings = acceptable.
On the local level: Significantly less revenue, but no cost savings = unacceptable.
But I also get what you're saying about pre-emption by the local stations. What did they think they could possibly come up with on their own, that would improve on even Leno's meager ratings?