NBC is roaring back into the 10 p.m. timeslot a bit earlier than planned.
The network has just told affiliates that it’s pre-empting Tuesday’s planned repeat episode of "The Jay Leno Show" in order to make room for a super-sized night of "The Biggest Loser."
The possible target of NBC’s heavyweight reality champ: ABC’s "Lost."
Instead of airing a two-hour "Loser" at 8 and "Leno" at 10, NBC has now decided to air a one-hour repeat "Loser" at 8, with the normal two-hour first-run "Loser" from 9-11 p.m. Leno, who’s leaving primetime Feb. 9, will get a night off.
"Lost" was already going to have to face "Loser" for one hour (from 9-10 p.m.) It will now have to contend with added firepower at 10 p.m. as well.
Given that "Lost" has a die-hard fan base not likely to dramatically drop or expand in the final season, nobody at ABC is probably losing too much sleep over the move.
And, while NBC probably wouldn’t mind dinging "Lost" a bit, it’s doubtful this play is really about ABC. Instead, it seems more an attempt to show some love to the network’s battle-weary affiliates.
"Loser" will almost certainly give local newscasts a much stronger lead-in than "The Jay Leno Show" would have, especially in repeats. A similar expansion on Dec. 1 helped make "Loser" the biggest show of the night. And after seven months of loathing "Leno," it can’t hurt to throw affiliates a bone.
It also will likely boost the overall season average for "Loser," which now won’t have to compete against Fox’s "American Idol" in the 8 p.m. hour.