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NBC pulls plug on Jay Leno show's prime time experiment

NBC announced Sunday that it is planning to move Jay Leno's talk show to 11:30 p.m. Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon would shift back a half hour – if they accept the deal.

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Jay Leno, shown in this Aug. 5, 2009 file photo, speaks during the panel for 'The Jay Leno Show' at the NBC Universal Television Critics Association summer press tour in Pasadena, Calif.

Matt Sayles/AP/File

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NBC has confirmed that as of Feb. 12 – coinciding with the debut of Vancouver Olympics coverage – talk show host Jay Leno has been given a pink slip for his Monday-to-Friday, 10 p.m. time slot.

Sunday morning, at a press conference in Pasadena, Calif., NBC/Universal’s chairman of television entertainment, Jeff Gaspin told reporters that all three of the peacock network’s late-night hosts are taking the weekend to consider the offer now on the table, namely that Mr. Leno retake his 11:35 berth, while Conan O’Brien shifts to 12:05 A.M. – retaining his title as host of “The Tonight Show.”

In this new scenario, Jimmy Fallon will move to 1:05 A.M.

As for what the network would drop into the newly-vacated 10 p.m. slot for all five nights of the week, Mr. Gaspin offered little more than speculation that the network might regain two hours of dramas and a mix of news and reality shows.

For now, he adds, NBC is going “back to basics.”

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