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STeve Chiotakis: Nothing’s official yet, but we’re expecting to hear today about Conan O’Brien’s departure from NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” A deal to pay O’Brien a reported $30 million or more to leave NBC would make way for Jay Leno to return to his old spot as host of the show. Now the prime-time slot Leno is leaving opens up an hour for dramas and scripted television shows. And that’s vindicating a lot of producers and writers, as Marketplace senior business correspondent Bob Moon explains.
Bob Moon: For TV producer David Shore, NBC could stand for “new business connections.” The network just ordered up a fresh prime-time pilot from the creator of the hit Fox drama “House.” And the odds he’ll be able to sell his remake of “The Rockford Files” just improved:
David Shore: NBC now has to fill up five more hours of scripted programming which, frankly, opens up the competition a little bit. I think the bar has been lowered for me.
Shore says Hollywood is breathing a collective sigh of relief, but he never doubted scripted dramas would survive.
Shore: It was the same concern when game shows looked like they were taking over a few years ago, and news magazines looked like they were taking over a few years before that. The networks and the studios are always looking for some less-expensive way of filling up programming and, luckily for us, it all seems to come back to scripted programming eventually.
He’s not the only one who sees a happy ending. Jack Kyser is with L.A.’s Economic Development Council:
Jack Kyser: If you have, say, a one-hour scripted series, you’re looking at about 150 direct jobs on that, and then another 400 indirect jobs.
Multiply that by up to five hours of new shows, and Kyser says the skies for the entertainment industry just got a lot brighter.
I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.
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