Jay Leno: First Week Ratings

Published 6 years ago by

jay leno Jay Leno: First Week Ratings

I thought I’d give our faithful Screen Rant readers the run down on the ratings for the first week of the Jay Leno show…  despite the fact I’m a bit averse to actually covering talk shows and most comedies.  I felt it a worthy sacrifice if I ventured into hostile territory for you guys.

With the previous week being the first one for the new Jay Leno Show on NBC, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  NBC marketed the living heck out of it and I was curious if people who watched Jay in his old time slot were willing to give up some other existing TV show in order to continue seeing him on TV.

I tuned in one night last week and to be honest, for all the hype about how different the show was going to be, I was surprised at just how much this new rendition was the same as Jay’s previous incarnation of The Tonight Show.

As far as the ratings went, Monday brought in 18.4 million viewers but by the time Friday rolled around, the shiny new feel wore off and the week ended with just under 8 million viewers.

Despite being pretty much like his previous show and NBC banking so much on it by dumping some other scripted dramas, I found a couple of interesting flaws with Jay’s show.  One of them was how they’re going to be blending his closing stand-up skit into the following news program on whatever NBC affiliate has news following Jay.

You see, NBC has Jay’s show ending and without any commercial break the programming segues straight into the news.

Wonderful idea.  On the night I watched, I loved Jay Leno making his final joke of the night fade into the news about the Yale student found stuffed in a wall.  Real nice.

My other issue was that for me here in the Bay Area, apparently the news cast staff have running instructions to mention Jay Leno throughout the broadcast.  OMG!  Just how many fracking times can you mention Jay Leno for no real reason?  I didn’t count the times, but I felt awkward for the news crew.

Uh ho, I feel a mini-rant coming on…

Since today TV news is about generating ratings by glorifying terrible news in order to make it water cooler fodder,  I guess I really shouldn’t be that surprised.  My first awareness of when the news started to be about gossip-like material was way back when Dolly the sheep was cloned.  The day that this scientific success, which could literally affect all of history for humanity itself (whether for good or bad) was on the news, but the announcement was the 8th item on the list of the newscast I was watching… just behind the car chases, the murders, the old folks getting scammed of their life savings.  Yeah…  that’s when I started looking at TV with a different eye.

Ratings source:  TV By The Numbers

TAGS: Jay leno
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  1. I wanted to catch Jay’s show this week because I liked his old show, but I just never had a chance to. Too much baseball to watch and shows on the DVR. I will probably catch it sometime this week, though.

  2. I actually really enjoyed Jay’s show. It’s very similar to the old show, but with a little more focus on comedy and a little less on interviewing. So far they brought back Headlines which is the greatest thing ever and also the 911 calls. Bother were hilarious. We have also had some comedians and car wash entertainment.

  3. Yeah Daniel, headlines was always one of my favorite parts of the show, too.

  4. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno was great and I was sad to see it go. But… his new show it fabulous !!!!!! A perfect mix of all the old favorites and new segements. I thought I would split in two watching “The Dan Band”, on the first night. Jay is a great interviewer and always gets the most interesting guests.
    Everyone should settle down and enjoy Jay at what he’s so good at doing…entertaining, and stop being soooo critical. It’s different, new and fresh and change is always hard to accept. I’m just so happy to see Jay back where he belongs :)

  5. The Tonight Show was always past my bedtime, but I like Leno – he seemed willing to take pot shots at BOTH sides of the aisle.


  6. I have to disagree with a lot of the other posters. Leno’s new show was milktoast, boring as always. I didn’t even come close to laughing or cracking a smile once. Perhaps people tolerated his “comedy” as they were falling asleep, but I can’t imagine many folks would watch his new show at a time when there are more viewing options.

  7. I just zipped through all five shows.

    The material in the monologues was mediocre at best. How many years has Jay done stand up on TV?? And he still can’t read the cue cards with being so obvious. I dare you to try to catch Letterman reading the cards. Jay can’t tear his eyes away from the words on the cards. Lots of stumbles too. Geez, doesn’t he do a run through???

    The rest of the show was full of retreated bits.

    He will be lucky to have 5 million viewers (His 11:30 pm average) by the end of next week.

  8. I want to be good friends with Jay Leno so he would leave me one of his cars in his will… :-P

    Is Jay Walking still part of his show?

  9. I used to run into Leno a lot at an IN & OUT he used to frequent… he rode his Harley’s or drove his classic cars and was always willing to chat you up.

    Now that he’s big, not sure on that… yea… Ken J – ever seen the Peterson Auto Museum?

  10. No, it’s located on the opposite coast from where I live, haha. If I go to Kalifornia I will be sure to check it out.

  11. I watched the first show and half of the second one but most of the other shows start this week I see his ratings are going to dive monday alone I will not miss Castle to watch jay NO WAY

  12. I love Jay and I missed him. i dont get the critics that his show is like his old one. well yeah, that show beat everyone, why should he change it? its HIS show, just on earlier, what did you all expect? CSI Leno? if you want to belat, complain that NBC tossed him in favor of Conan. His show is also the same only now called Tonight Show. Why no complaints about that?

  13. I think Jay leno show Will NOT last long HOPE that Put back a really good Drama

  14. Drama’s too expensive, that’s why Leno got his Jay Leno Show in the early evening.
    I’m not gonna watch it again, after seeing the first episode. It’s too scripted, not really funny, and too forced.
    Letterman’s better, despite his very annoying bald band leader, but Conan’s the king of late night talk shows.

  15. Couldn’t disagree more Rhaemye I think Letterman is probably the worst late night host on TV. In direct competition with Carson Daily.

  16. I disagree with both of you. Conan is the worst and David is a close second. If I haven’t fallen asleep by the time Carson comes on I will be shortly after his show starts.

  17. Welcome back Jay Leno, it is nice to see you back and looking well also – see you lost a few punds and look great. The new show is great, but sure miss you late night on the east coast. I watched Johnny Carson from first to last show, wathced Jay Leno first to last show. Look NBC bring Jay back to the Night Show and dump Conan O’Brian who I thing is not worth watching also the worst move NBC made. I do not and will not watch O’Brian as many of my friends no long watch either. Good luck there Jay and keep the world laughing as we sure need it today!

  18. Welcome back Jay Leno, it’s nice to see your smilling face again. I used to try to watch all the “Tonight Show” before, but fell asleep before the last guest appeared. I loved your show foremat the way it was and I really miss seeing you behind the desk. I feel like you felt more comfortable talking to your guest that way, I could be wrong.I miss seeing you behind the desk. Please keep us laughing and keep the old faithful acts and guests,(Ross the intern and Terry Bradshaw.)I made sure to tell my family when Terry was on, we would laugh for days. Again, Welcome Home! and remember Jay, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  19. I found Jay Leno’s “new” show the same old boring stuff. I think I would rather miss a little sleep and watch Conan or Letterman. They are both much funnier.

  20. What we now have on NBC is “The Tonight Show” an hour and a half earlier, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” an hour earlier, and that Jimmy Fallon thing in the old “Late Night…” time slot. (I don’t think Fallon is funny at all!) Jay’s new show is just his old “Tonight Show” re-vamped a tiny bit. Conan’s show is just like his old show, even including Andy Richter, his original sidekick on “Late Night”… oh – and it’s taped in L.A. instead of N.Y. – big deal. Fallon’s show is…well…NOT funny to me. Even on slower TV nights, there are always shows I want to watch at 10:00, none of which I would give up to watch Leno. I’ll bet I’m not alone regarding that. If I recall correctly, NBC has guaranteed Leno a YEAR of his show, which I don’t think is fair. Other new shows only get a fraction of that time to win an audience over. It’s obviously to Leno’s advantage that his show is so cheap to produce. My opinion of Leno’s “new” show is been there, done that, time to move on. NBC, please bring a good drama or comedy on! Jay, do stand-up full-time, if you can’t bring yourself to retire yet, but let “The Tonight Show” go!

  21. I found the new Leno show just a rerun of his old tonight show. No change, nothing new. I expect the ratings to continue to fall. It is kind of like seeing a sports figure playing past his prime.