Tonight's the night Jay Leno returns to his old spot at 11:35. Drama comes back to 10 p.m., which is sure to make NBC affiliates happy as they hopefully get back viewers for their lucrative local newscasts at 11.
Pundits are predicting that Jay's show, which will surely have big audiences this first week, will eventually regain its #1 spot in late night from David Letterman on CBS. But they don't expect "The Tonight Show" to ever return to audience levels of even two years ago.
The days of big audiences for late night may be gone, and it's not due to NBC's bungling of their late night changes. Viewers at 11:35 have so many good options beyond the talk shows now -- quality engaging dramas on cable, combined with time-shifted viewing via DVR. It's a whole new ballgame at 11:35.
As for me, I plan to check out Jay's monologue tonight, to see what he has to say about the whole debacle. When his first guest, loony Sarah Palin comes on, I'll click back over to Dave, even if his guest is just the sneezing monkey.