NBC affil makes news over Leno

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In the first major skirmish over NBC's planned 10 p.m. talk show with Jay Leno, WHDH-TV, NBC's affiliate in Leno's hometown of Boston, said Thursday that it won't carry the show, drawing fire from the network, which threatened to pull the station's affiliation.

On its Web site, the Sunbeam-owned WHDH said it will launch an hourlong 10 p.m. newscast in September as a lead-in to its regular 11 p.m. newscast.

In a statement, NBC TV Network president John Eck called the move "a flagrant violation of the terms of their contract with NBC."

"If they persist, we will strip WHDH of its NBC affiliation," Eck said.

NBC affiliates have shared concern over potential weakening of the lead-in for their late local news. Still, the stations have been working with NBC during the past weeks on tweaking the format of Leno's primetime show to minimize the drop-off, and WHDH's move to drop the program so early is especially surprising given that Boston is one of Leno's strongest markets. (partialdiff)
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