NBC's affiliate in Boston said it won't carry Jay Leno's new 10 p.m. show, which the station claims might ruin the station's business by driving away viewers. Making the feud especially embarrassing?
The affiliate is the Tonight Show host's hometown station, as Nikki Fincke points out. (Leno was born in New Rochelle, New York but grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, part of the Boston TV market.)
NBC's New York suits are threatening to stab the affiliate, WHDH, in the throat, i.e. to strip the station's network affiliation and to buy NBC's own slice of the Boston airwaves. The station, meanwhile, insists it has a clause in its affiliate contract allowing the move, and its owner told the Boston Globe Leno would be "very adverse to our finances."
The network needs to make an example of the station: According to Variety, several affiliates are nervous about Leno's new show.
Poor Jay. NBC colleague Conan O'Brien fumed at him; rival David Letterman mocked him and now a TV station is accusing him of trying to put it out of business, in a recession. On the bright side, for Leno at least, expectations couldn't be lower. As long as his show doesn't kill anyone, make anyone homeless or give anyone a disease in its first, say, month, it can be fairly called an unexpected success.