The Jay Leno Show wrapped its first week with numbers that fall into the range where NBC couldn’t have reasonably hoped for better.  As predicted by most, the show premiered to relatively huge numbers and declined throughout the week with the exception of a Susan Boyle appearance on the finale of America’s Got Talent bumping the Wednesday numbers up.

Some attention was paid to a repeat of The Mentalist beating Leno in total viewers on Thursday as if that was a bad sign for the show.  But we don’t believe that’s a bad sign.  In fact, we fully expect CBS reruns will regularly beat Leno in total viewers and we won’t be at all surprised if CBS repeats regularly edge Leno out in the 18-49 demo either.   But we don’t think that means anything in terms of the show’s viability in NBC’s eyes.  My feeling has been (Bill’s might differ slightly) that if Leno averages a 1.5 in adults 18-49 NBC will be content, regardless of yakking from affiliates, and if it averages a 2.0, NBC (and begrudgingly, the affiliates) will be ecstatic.

This week is meaningless in figuring the show’s future prospects.  While next week will be more telling, it might take a month or two or three before we really have a feel for how the show is doing.  I wouldn’t predict any panic by NBC in that time frame. I would predict lots of stories in the media that are panicky in nature regardless.

Of course, if Leno is pulling a 1.1 adults 18-49 rating next week, I reserve the right to panic myself.  Even with the competition airing new shows at 10pm next week, I would be very surprised if any airing of The Jay Leno Show dips below a 1.5 with adults 18-49 next week.

Though putting the week’s data into a chart doesn’t add any particular value,  I have a week before trying to calculate how what movies were playing and what outfits Eliza Dushku wore impacted Dollhouse’s ratings, so I did the chart anyway.


Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

*Numbers for Friday 9/18 are preliminary fast national results, all other results are final nationals

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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