With Earlier Leno, Whither TV Drama? This week, NBC announced that comedian Jay Leno would stay at the network past his 2009 contract deadline and host a new prime-time show five days a week. Anthony E. Zuiker, co-creator of the CSI franchise, talks about how that will affect scripted television.

With Earlier Leno, Whither TV Drama?

With Earlier Leno, Whither TV Drama?

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Earlier this week, NBC announced that it was not yet ready to cut ties with late-night host Jay Leno.

Instead, the network is moving him to a 10 p.m. slot.

Although that's good news for Leno, it's bad news for scripted TV series, which have been squeezed in recent years by cheaper — and easier to produce — reality programming.

Anthony E. Zuiker, co-creator of the CSI franchise, says he was "rather shocked" when he heard about the Leno news.

"It does gobble up five, arguably, hours of potential [scripted] programs," he says.

Zuiker says such events tend to "have a trickle-down effect" on the other networks.

"For every time slot that goes away, it's one less scripted program," he says. He calls scripted programming "white-hot."

"I literally can count on fingers and toes 20 great scripted programming shows from network television to cable," he says. "This is the golden era."

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