Boston affiliate caves on primetime Leno


NBC's rebel Boston affiliate will carry the network's new Jay Leno primetime talk show after all.

A week after WHDH-TV owner Ed Ansin started a firestorm by announcing plans not to air the show because it "will be very adverse to our finances," he changed his mind.

"Upon further consideration, we have decided to telecast Jay Leno at 10 p.m. starting in September," Ansin said. "Jay is from Andover, where I went to school. I enjoy his humor. We hope the new show is a big success."

WHDH had said it would air a local newscast at 10 p.m., threatening to remove a top affiliate from NBC's fall primetime plans. NBC responded harshly, threatening to strip the station of its affiliation and warning of legal action. In addition, the station received boycott threats from local Leno fans.

On Monday, the network was conciliatory in its tone.

"We are very pleased that WHDH will carry Jay Leno's new primetime comedy show," said John Eck, president of NBC TV Network. "We look forward to working closely with the station on a successful launch in Boston of this show, featuring one of the most bankable stars in the business."

The station's reversal reduces the likelihood of any other affiliate trying to defect, though NBC said such incentive isn't necessary because the other affiliates are enthusiastic about the new Leno show. (partialdiff)