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Leno's prime-time show a no go on Boston's NBC affiliate; MSNBC hires another voice from the left


This is interesting. Boston's NBC affiliate, WHDH-TV, says it won't carry Jay Leno's new prime-time weeknight talk show when it premieres in the fall.

The Boston Globe reports that the independently owned station instead will launch a local newscast in the 10 p.m. (eastern) hour. This is no small matter because Boston is the country's seventh largest TV market.

"We feel we have a real opportunity with running the news at 10 p.m.," WHDH owner Ed Ansin told The Globe. "We don't think the Leno show is going to be effective in prime-time. It will be detrimental to our 11 o'clock (news). It will be very adverse to our finances."

NBC is talking tough, threatening to strip WHDH of its network affiliation if it refuses to carry Leno.

"WHDH's move is a flagrant violation of the terms of their contract," said NBC TV Network president John Eck. "We have a number of other strong options in the Boston market, including using our existing broadcast license to launch an NBC owned and operated station."

D-FW's NBC station, KXAS-TV, has no choice but to carry Leno. It's owned and operated by NBC.

The Peacock's leverage with WHDH isn't what it used to be, though. NBC is running fourth in the prime-time ratings again, and has no show -- other than Sunday Night Football -- that even wins its time period.

WHDH's Ansin contends that his station has "a unique agreement with NBC, which is unlike the standard affiliate agreement. We have the option of not airing Leno at 10 o'clock."

We'll see who blinks on this one.

MSNBC newcomer Ed Schultz

**MSNBC is adding another left-of-center personality to its lineup. The Ed Show, hosted by veteran radio talker Ed Schultz, will premiere Monday at 5 p.m. (central), replacing 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Schultz, 55, describes himself as a "gun-totin', red meat-eatin' lefty." MSNBC has prospered since going to a left-of-center prime-time lineup led by Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. March marked the first month that MSNBC has ever beaten CNN in the prime-time ratings. Fox News Channel continues to lead the cable news ratings with a right-of-center roster paced by Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity.

David Gregory, who had anchored 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and also moderates NBC's Meet the Press, will be shuttled to 3 p.m. weekdays, where he'll helm a new two-hour program with Tamron Hall.