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“Leno” Contributed to Cable

NEW YORK: CBS chief Les Moonves started counting his chickens last May when NBC announced it would move Jay Leno’s late-night talker to the 10 p.m. timeslot. Pali Capital’s Rich Greenfield recalls remarks Moonves made during the 1Q09 CBS earnings call.

“We think we can increase the shift of dollars, to CBS, because of NBC’s decision to exit scripted programming at 10…. we took in 38 percent of the revenue available at 10 on broadcast television, because remember, there are only three networks. And assuming Jay Leno does great and he does what he’s doing right now, suddenly, that 38 percent will turn into maybe 45 percent, maybe 47 percent.... We think this is a big plus for us and ABC in terms of revenue.”

The two networks ended the year flat at 10 p.m. The Big three lost 1.3 ratings points among people 18 to 49 at 10 p.m., according to Media Life. Ad-supported cable gained 1.6 ratings points among 18-to-49 year-olds at 10 p.m.

“The cable network original programming push continues to gain momentum, with the notable increase in overall cable network ratings at 10 p.m. so far this TV season likely leading to even more significant programming investment in the year ahead,” Greenfield said. “While originally we expected networks such as TNT and F/X to be the prime beneficiaries of the Leno move on NBC as they focus on 10 p.m. dramas similar stylistically to what NBC used to air at 10 p.m., we believe the impact has been quite fragmented, helping a wide array of cable networks that air original programming at 10 p.m., including networks owned by Disney, Discovery, Scripps and Viacom.”