If it smells like it, it probably is

So Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports, is jumping to the defense of his network in the colossal foul-up involving a high-stakes game of musical chairs with late night talk show hosts at NBC. “What this is really all about,” Ebersol told The New York Times, “is an astounding failure by Conan.” Referring to Conan O’Brien’s critical comments this week, Ebersol said it was “chicken-hearted and gutless to blame a guy you couldn’t beat in the ratings.” Indeed, ratings have been down for Conan, but let’s look at this.

Leno’s performance at 10pm drove late local news numbers for NBC affiliates into the sewer (down 25%), because lead-ins to programs matter. Without big ratings at 10pm, the news at 11pm was bound to suffer. And guess what? If the news numbers suffered, it follows that The Tonight Show numbers would suffer, too.

This stuff is BS. Pure spin.

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