It's interesting to see the wide range of speculating when it comes to Jay Leno in primetime. Some people believe Jay Leno's ratings will be a cataclysmic failure for NBC, some think it will do amazingly amd others think it will do neither great or abysmally. We'll have to wait and see and we'll need more than the first week of ratings data to really know anything. Everyone knows that, but we love to speculate anyway.
One thing that isn't so speculative though is this: NBC is going to wind up the fourth place network in primetime. Again. You might not find much consensus with the predictions for Leno's ratings, but factoring out next year's winter Olympics, NBC finishing last (of the big 4) in primetime seems a certainty, even the executives at NBC must know that.
Our friend James Hibberd writes:
Also, [Fox entertainment president Kevin] Reilly (who formerly served as entertainment president at the NBC, you'll recall) urged reporters to look at NBC's overall standings and not just 10 p.m.
"They're going to struggle at 8 p.m.," he said. "I see no show there, other than 'Biggest Loser,' that's going to get things going. Struggle at 8 p.m., not a lot of powerhouses at 9 p.m., modest ratings at 10 p.m. I think you've got to look at the whole picture."
Reilly thinks Leno will do fine at 10pm, but then adds a " but so what?" spin to it. I like Reilly for urging the media to look at the big picture. His point is a good one. Whether Leno does well or not, NBC's still going to finish last among the big four broadcast networks in primetime. All the media focus and obsession over Jay Leno won't change that, regardless of how Leno performs.
Unfortunately, media coverage dedicated to the big picture goes mostly unread. Because of that, despite any urging from Reilly or anyone else, you can expect to see vastly more media coverage of Leno's ratings than the of the picture.