Home Miami TV WHDH Won’t Air Leno at 10pm, NBC Threatens to Cancel Affiliation

WHDH Won’t Air Leno at 10pm, NBC Threatens to Cancel Affiliation


We are used to seeing WSVN steamrolling over its network and giving them the bird in order to do things their own way. It’s kind of accepted, it’s WSVN. But this is more ballsy than anything 7 has done so far.

Basically, WHDH announced in a newscast the other day that they will not air Jay Leno’s new show at 10pm. Instead they’re putting the newscast that usually airs on their CW channel at that time on Leno’s slot on WHDH.

Ed Ansin told the Boston Globe he offered NBC to run Leno at 11pm but the network declined and that not taking advantage of the 10pm slot would be adverse on WHDH’s financial situation! He also says his contract with NBC is unlike that with other stations so he could opt not to air Leno’s new show. Ansin also stated the obvious: “We are already suffering from weak lead-ins”. WFXT the FOX-owned affiliate, which like WSVN in South Florida, is dong very well with their 10pm newscast especially thanks to Idol as lead-in is trouncing Sunbeam’s CW News at 10 by huge margins.

NBC brass on their part are livid. The Boston papers are quoting John Eck chief of NBC TV Network saying that if WHDH goes ahead as planned they will take their affiliation away. And that NBC may use their broadcast license in Boston to launch an NBC-owned station! NBC is counting on Leno to help the network’s sagging ratings. And Boston is the 7th largest TV market in the US.

When NBC announced Leno’s new show will run at 10pm NBC affiliates around the country complained a non-scripted show 5 days a week will hurt their 11pm newscast lead-in and ratings.


  1. That’s not going to happen. NBC is having enough problems with their O&Os as it is and is possibly in the process of decreasing the O&Os it has…one reason WTVJ is for sale. The only option NBC has there is that crappy low power Telemundo station they own. They own that station and dont even operate it.

    That is wishful thinking. NBC clearly doesent have the time and money to set that up right now. They will sooner work out a deal with Ed Ansin.

    Furthermore, they would be stupid to do so since WHDH historically does pretty well. If history tells us anything NBC has made this error before and it hurt them. WSVN was a top 3 station in the the 60s, 70s, and 80s with NBC affiliation. NBC bought their own station and messed it up pretty bad lowering them on average to 6th place or something. Meanwhile WSVN has improved significantly since losing its affiliation with NBC.

  2. nbc is giong to lose on this case. if they switch to another channel than they would A have to buy a station b spend the money on promoting the new network. hire a news cast etc. and considering that NBC just received federal bail out money i find it stupid and bad business sense to buy a new channel so it becomes O&O. Just wait for a few more years till their contact ends with WHDH and than go to another channel.

  3. How long will this Leno show last anyways?? What if it isnt successful? Is it really worth the cost of setting up their own station for one thing that may not even work out?

  4. Just run news during the breaks instead of commercials… and have a lot of “breaking news” during Leno; that way, everyone’s “happy.” Heh!

  5. I agree with NBC. I mean enough with these stations refusing to air shows. I mean if you are affiliated with a network then you should air there programs period. However if you don’t wanna air there shows then be a independent station. However I think the Leno show will be a BOMB. I see him drawing no more than 5 or 6 million viewers at best.

  6. D, I actually agree with you – at least as far as these affiliates go. If they want the affiliation, they’d better play by the rules. If not, then go independent.

    That said, I think Leno will be at least as decent as most of the competition’s 10pm stuff – especially when ABC and CBS are showing reruns.

  7. Play by the rules?! C’mon, this is Ansin at his old school best…when affiliates used to stand up to the networks make decisions based on what was best for the bottom line in their local market. Damn the network and it’s risky bet on Leno. And if a year down the road, Leno’s a success, the 10pm newscast is lagging, and the viewers want Jay, then you make a new decision. But for now, it’s good to see Ansin putting up a fight for now.

    • I completely agree with you. Ansin made good moves in the 1980s. It helped WSVN. WSVN is very competitive and a model for many stations around the country. Like I said before, Ansin’s stations DO make money. WHDH is one of NBCs stronger affiliates. If I were NBC I would require them to air it, however I would allow a station such as WHDH that has made me money play with the timing a bit if they want to experiment with a 10pm newscast.

  8. IMO, it’s shameful that local television network affiliates would want to pre-empt network shows. Viewers expressing interest in seeing such shows… local affiliates not allowing their viewers the opprtunity to see the show(s).

    Below are just a few notable pre-emptions that come to mind…

    ABC: Cox refusing to air “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on its Atlanta, Charlotte, and Orlando ABC stations for several years, but have since started carrying the late-night show. Many ABC stations refused to air the soap operas “Ryan’s Hope” and “The Edge of Night”, as well as refused to air the first 10 years of “One Life to Live”. Sacramento… KOVR (followed by KXTV) dropping the soap opera “Loving”, as well as refusing to air “The City” and “Port Charles”. Sinclair pulling an episode of “Nightline” from all its ABC stations. Many ABC stations opting out of an unedited version of “Saving Private Ryan” in 2004.

    CBS: Former New World stations (before becoming FOX O&O’s) dropping “CBS This Morning” (now “The Early Show”), in favor of extending local morning newscasts. Seattle’s KIRO-TV refusing to air the soap opera “Capitol”. Sacramento… KXTV (followed by KOVR) dropping the soap opera “The Guiding Light”. Several other CBS affiliates moving the same long-running soap to mornings, instead of keeping it in its intended afternoon time slot.

    NBC: Hearst-Argyle currently refusing to air the 4th hour of “The Today Show” on its NBC stations. Many NBC stations refusing to air the soap opera “Search For Tomorrow”… Sacramento and San Francisco dropping “Another World”.

    • Another NBC pre-emption I almost left out. Salt Lake City refusing to air “Saturday Night Live”, as well as several NBC stations refusing to air “Poker After Dark”.

    • In the case of “The Guiding Light,” not airing in Sacramento, it was pulled because it did horrible in the ratings. Now that CBS owns the station, the ban still stands.

    • Hearst is notorious for premptions. Those of us that are able to watch WPBF in West Palm Beach known that.

      As I stated before, I think WHDH should be obliged to air it, but since they do guarantee good returns for NBC, they should be given the freedom to air it when they feel fit.

      If WHDH had a history of being a low rated station, then I could see why NBC might not like this idea.

  9. Many of the shows referenced came after these relaxed affilation agreements. COX has statd that their agreement with ABC does not require them to air the shows past Nightline.

    With the internet viewers can wait 24 hours and watch the show online.

    Eric, your statement, “Viewers expressing interest in seeing such shows…” is not 100% true. Read my above post for the example.

    I hope WHDH does what it feels is best for the market and if NBC says goodbye, then so be it. NBC will not be able to start a station from scratch by September.

  10. It may be difficult for NBC to start airing NBC on another station, but not as hard as you think. NBC already owns the Telemundo station up here in Boston, and they have already said they could change it to an NBC (unlike in Miami, the spanish channels are a joke up here anyways.

    It would take a lot of money to advertise the change, but they could do it. The only difficult part would be making a newsroom and studio if they chose (I don’t think the telemundo station has one). However, we have a local cable news channel (NECN) that has in the past produced newscasts for over-the-air channels. So it could be done.

    • NBC may own WNEU, the Boston Telemundo, but they do not operate it. It is operated by ZGS Communications and controlled out of Arlington, VA. So in a nutshell, NBC has no owned presence in Boston at all right now. It would be way to costly for them to do that given the current economy and cutbacks they have been doing with their current O&Os.

      Trust me, it won’t happen.

      • On another note, I am learning that WNEU is not even REALLY Boston’s Telemundo. It is more New Hampshire’s. WTMU, a ZGS owned and operated station is the rightful Telemundo Station for that market.

  11. Whatever NBC does, history tells us they will select the most costly solution with the least chance for success. That Zucker golden touch. Hate to see old man Ansin win another one, miserable coot that he is.

  12. It is beyond Crazy these networks let these local stations pull this CRAP. I mean if you are affilated with NBC, CBS, ABC etc etc then you should show whatevertell you to. I mean refusing to air Another World, Guiding Light, or Jay Leno is crazy. What right do they have to say no to a viewer who wants to watch these or any other shows. If I was in charge of any of these networks and they pulled this crap. I would say YOU will air it or else. I especially find it nonsense that a network owned station can say We are not airing Guiding Light, Leno etc etc. They own you and you will air it.

    • WHy????? These stations are independently operated by their owners. They are affiliated just to benefit themselves, otherwise people wont watch. So if anybody is at risk, it is WHDH. In addition to that, Sunbeam is not the only station to do stuff like this. With the exception of WSVN 7, we have 2 O&Os in South Florida, and we have a Post Newsweek stations whose contract with ABC requires them to air 100% of the ABC programming, although on Saturdays they do not air it in the recommended order.

      As for up in West Palm Beach, WPBF does not air all of ABCs stuff, and WPTV’s owner, EW Scripps Company, has asked to meet with NBC regarding the 10pm schedule of Leno. So there is some evidence that WPTV is very worried about the show hurting their 11pm as well and they rightfully should be worried since they have been falling behind WPEC for the first time its life.

      • Graham puts up a great point.

        WBZ prior to CBS, didn’t carry as much NBC Daytime programming, nor did WNEV-WHDH with CBS. Besides, Ansin is one of the few mom-and-pop stations that’s still trying to do what’s best for the company. And as for Leno, there’s always hulu.

  13. We all complain that localism is being stripped from our stations but when a station speaks up for themselves, we complain again. I could care less what Ansin does and if he loses the NBC affilation, that will be NBC’s loss. It may be a little harder to use the WSVN model in Boston cause of NECN, among other things but it can be done.

    Let’s see what the viewers in Boston think!

  14. The local affiliate system might have been dead already had it not been for the must-carry rule. The networks could just dump all their affiliates and move over to cable/satellite. But then we would see once and for all the emperor has no clothes–does anyone think the networks would get bigger audiences head-to-head on cable with the likes of TBS, TNT, USA, ESPN, etc? Let’s remind everyone there’s a for-sale sign in front of 6 in Miramar…NBC itself probably would have been dumped by GE if they thought they could get anything for it. Leno is a bargain-basement idea…again, it kills me to say Ansin is right, but there it is.

    • Though not at all widely known, I had been told by people at NBC Uni that NBC will be up for sale as soon as their is improvement in the economy, possibly as soon as this fall.

      Ansin is one of the top 20 richest men in the USA, he is always right. Sunbeam may be falling behind in ratings in Boston, but they are not having money problems.

  15. As far as NBC is concerned… Jeff Zucker and Ben Silverman have turned it into a complete train-wreck. With NBC repeating its ratings crisis of the late 1970s and early 1980s… This is definitely not Brandon Tartikoff’s NBC anymore. He’s probably rolling over in his grave at what has become of the television institution he worked to turn around.


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