Leno Grabs Good Ratings But…

When NBC first announced that Jay Leno would be on at daily at 10 P.M. critics wonder about the concept. Would a “Tonight Show” type program work in primetime.

Now that The Jay Leno Show has premiered that question still remains unanswer.


Leno isn’t the problem. He’s funny, affable and very accessible. He’s probably the only entertainer in the English speaking world with enough talent and popularity to try this. The Jay Leno Show, for better or worse, is the Tonight Show on steroids. The show feels like it’s being made by people who know the boss is watching.

Some of the bits seemed to go on to long. Then again this show is a magnet for filler and segment killers. The syndrome will only get worse.

His first guest was Jerry Seinfeld who then interviewed her majesty, Oprah. While Oprah is a huge get, Seinfeld is certainly not above appearing on the Tonight Show. This is yet another possible trap for the J.L.S., will it really give fans something they can’t get someone else?

As it stands right now, Leno is the major league version of a cable show.

By the way, Leno had no desk just two comfy chairs. Was Land of Punt the only pseudo-mythological land that saw that and thought Arsenio Hall?

The show debuted with a robust 18.4 million. Then again the XFL had a great debut too. On Tuesday, Leno’s rating fell to 10.7 million but NBC still won the evening.

Leno had no competition. On Tuesday, he was up against a Patrick Swayze special and the second hour of the Big Brother finale (Jordan won by the way).

The question still remains, will people give up their dramas to watch Leno? If comedy worked at 10 P.M. wouldn’t all the network have funny shows during that time slot? From 10 to 11 P.M. people want to relax, wind down and get ready for bed. Dramas put people to sleep. Comedy wakes them up (don’t bring up late night talk shows you’ll only confuse LOP with your monkey truths).

Earlier Tuesday night, a rerun of NCIS garnered nearly 12 million viewers. If a rerun can get better numbers (granted, it’s two hours earlier) then Leno what will happen when he goes up against estalished dramas like CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, The Mentalist, Numbers and Prviate Practice.

There are a slew of new 10 P.M. dramas and maybe that will allow Leno to make some in roads. But with a show that’s not revoluntionary, rather it’s something we’ve seen before, one has to beleive that the Jay Leno Show is nothing more than something to watch during commericals.

It would be nice to know NBC’s expectations for the show. Do they need it to win the timeslot every night or are they just looking to stay competive?

Regardless, the fate of NBC rests in the success of the Jay Leno Show.


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