Jay Leno scores big ratings, drawing the biggest crowd Monday with 18.4-million viewers
As expected, Monday night's debut of The Jay Leno Show scored big ratings Monday, drawing 18.4-million viewers, emerging as the top broadcast of the night on network television in total audience and among younger viewers advertisers covet.
Any other outcome would have been disastrous for NBC, which reportedly spent $10-million publicizing the show, making Leno's lantern jaw so ubiquitous the host's first joke Monday was a disclaimer that "This is not another annoying promo - this is the actual show."
Leno was also helped by a bit of serendipity, as rapper Kanye West, already scheduled to appear as am usical performer, used the show to try and apologize for dissing Taylor Swift during the MTV Video Music Awards the day before. Leno, however, was still a bit too nervous to nail the "what were you thinking?" question that pushed his Hugh Grant sit-down into TV history.
The real verdict on the Leno move won't come for a while; this week, NBC's network rivals are still airing mostly re-runs and reality TV shows. Though big name reality shows such as Biggest Loser and Survivor also debut today and Thursday, they air before Leno's 10 p.m. timeslot.
The real competition emerges next week, when old favorites CSI: Miami, Private Practice and The Mentalist join new series such as The Forgotten, Eastwick and The Good Wife to compete for eyeballs.
Two questions remain: if Leno's ratings are low enough for NBC to make money but they hurt the 11 p.m. newscast of affiliates like Tampa's WFLA-Ch. 8, what will the network do?
And will this new show mirror the pattern of Leno's Tonight Show, which drowned in bad reviews until viewers decided they liked the host anyway?
Click below to read NBC's press release:
UPDATE: RATINGS RESULTS FOR THE SEPT. 14 TELECAST OF 'THE JAY LENO SHOW'
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. September 15, 2009 The following are updated ratings results for the September 14 premiere telecast of NBC's "The Jay Leno Show."
From 10:01-11 p.m. ET, "The Jay Leno Show" averaged a 5.3 rating, 14 share in adults 18-49; a 6.4/15 in adults 25-54 and 18.4 million viewers overall.
"The Jay Leno Show" ranked #1 among the major networks in the time period in adults 18-49, #1 in adults 25-54 (the key demographic for late local news) and #1 in total viewers and all other key ratings categories. "The Jay Leno Show" was the #1 telecast of the night on the major networks in adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and total viewers.
Versus its lead-in from the 9-10 p.m. ET hour of "America's Got Talent," "The Jay Leno Show" was up 47 percent in adults 18-49 (5.3 vs. 3.6), 36 percent in adults 25-54 (6.4 vs. 4.7) and 23 percent in total viewers (18.4 million vs. 15.0 million).
"The Jay Leno Show" delivered NBC's highest 18-49 rating in the time period since November 3, 2008 ("Saturday Night Live Presidential Bash"), and biggest overall audience in the time slot since the August 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
From its first half-hour to its second, "The Jay Leno Show increased its 18-49 rating by 6 percent (to a 5.4 from a 5.1).
From 8-10 p.m. ET, a special Monday telecast of NBC's "America's Got Talent" averaged a 3.3/9 in adults 18-49 and 13.8 million viewers overall. In the time period, "Talent" is #1 among the major networks in adults 18-49, total viewers and numerous other key ratings categories.
The 3.3 rating for "Talent" is NBC's best in the Monday 8-10 p.m. ET slot since February 9, 2009, and the 13.8 million is NBC's biggest overall audience in the time period, excluding Olympics, since March 19, 2007.
NBC is #1 among the major networks for the night in 18-49, adults 25-54, total viewers and all other key ratings categories.
Quote from Jeff Gaspin, Chairman, NBC Universal Television Entertainment: "It's great to launch this innovative new show with such strong initial sampling, but we realize this is just one night and that we're going to build our business in this time period with ratings that will level out over time. Our focus is on delivering a great show and developing a consistent comedy viewing habit at 10 p.m. over the long haul."
Preliminary 18-49 averages for Monday night are: NBC, 3.9/10; CBS, 1.8/5; Fox, 1.8/5; ABC, 1.5/5; and CW, 1.3/3. In overall total viewers, September 14 preliminary results are: NBC, 15.1 million; CBS, 5.8 million; ABC, 5.0 million; Fox, 5.0 million; CW, 2.6 million.
Note that all national ratings are "live plus same day" unless otherwise indicated.