NBC’s much anticipated Jay Leno Show averaged a 12.1 household rating and 19 share last night, based on Nielsen’s metered-market ratings in 56 markets. That’s more than double the network’s average rating in the 10 o’clock slot over the past year.
The Jay Leno Show got off to an impressive start on NBC last night, exceeding media pundit expectations and more than doubling NBC’s average rating over the past year in the 10 p.m. time slot that Leno is now occupying Monday through Friday.
Leno averaged a 12.1 household rating and 19 share, based on Nielsen’s metered-market ratings in 56 markets.
By comparison, for the past 52 weeks NBC averaged a 5.2/9 in the time period, based on metered-market ratings. And Leno in his final season as host of the late-night The Tonight Show averaged a 4.0/10.
Leno finished his 17-year run on The Tonight Show on May 29 with 11.9 million viewers tuning in, a 7.9 household rating and a 3.4 adult 18-49 rating, based on final national ratings.
The fast-national ratings with demographic numbers for last night’s debut will come later this morning. Still, the preliminary 12.1/19 is a solid start for a show NBC is pinning much of its future on.
A few media researchers yesterday had predicted Leno would do well if it could pull a 7 household rating, due in large part to curiosity seekers checking out Leno’s new show.
Leno also faced light competition with the other networks mostly airing repeats. The regular television season begins next week.
Leno also had big-name guests, including Jerry Seinfeld and rapper Kanye West, who’s been dominating the news since disrupting the MTV Video Music Awards ceremony on Sunday.
While Leno’s numbers were good, the critics weren’t so taken with his latest effort. Many of them said the same thing: that the new show looked an awful lot like the old show. As Hank Stuever wrote in the Washington Post: “They said The Jay Leno Show wouldn’t feel like going to bed really early, that it would feel new.
“But it’s like going to bed really early. It feels old. For a lot of people, The Jay Leno Show, which premiered Monday in its game-changing 10 o’clock weeknight format, it might feel perfectly comfy.
“And who won’t watch Jay when nothing else is on, or when the nurse won’t come change the channel?”