Josef Adalian at The Wrap has a post up on how local NBC affiliates were down sharply with their 11pm newscasts were down sharply versus the prior week during premiere week. Note: premiere week here means the week of September 21-27 and not the first week of shows for The Jay Leno Show.
The article is pretty well disclaimed as far as why you should take the numbers with a grain of salt. But then looks at the numbers anyway (an approach we utilize often ourselves):
At first glance, the premiere week numbers don't look good for NBC. At all.
"They're just scary," a wag at a network not named NBC told TheWrap.
But keep in mind that premiere week offered CBS and ABC a chance to show off their biggest guns, thus boosting their local stations. By contrast, Leno was in "settling in" mode last week, having attracted much sampling and much bigger audiences the week before.
NBC says it's taking a full-year approach to 10 p.m., and presumably that applies to its stations. The network believes Leno will do better when the other networks are in repeats (Jay plans on taking off just a few weeks per year).
In those weeks when Jay is opposite repeats, there's a chance he could surge-- lifting local news numbers with him.
It's also possible that Leno has found his comfort zone and will, on most nights, average roughly between a 1.7 and a 2.4 in the demo-- just as he did during premiere week.
If that's the case, the question is whether local news numbers will follow the same pattern as premiere week, dropping in tandem with Leno's decline (relative to the primetime dropoff). Or do viewers return to their old viewing habits for late news, skipping Leno but returning at 11 o'clock?
You can see the numbers and disclaimers about last week's 11pm results in LA, NY, Philly, Chicago and Dallas for yourselves...