NBC is touting Jay Leno's new prime-time program, which will make its debut Sept. 14, as an innovative, DVR-proof move, but buyers say the new talk show will draw fewer viewers than ABC and CBS on any given night, and are balking at paying prime-time prices for what they view as late-night ratings. [...]
"He will guarantee NBC a third-place finish [behind ABC and CBS] in whatever hour he's in," said Shari Ann Brill, senior VP-director of strategic audience analysis for Aegis Group's Carat. "He will do on par with what he did in late night." [...]
Indeed, media buyers expect the new Leno program to generate a C3 household rating ranging between 3.0 and 4.9. Even unvested programs in the same time slot, including ABC's "The Forgotten" and CBS's "The Good Wife," are expected to do better.
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