NBC Universal would be bigger idiots than they already are if boss Jeff Zucker declares Jay Leno the “king of the 10 PM Hour” (like he declared Conan O’Brien the “king of late night” prematurely. That’s because the Jay Leno Show scored strong overnight ratings against weak 10 PM competition: a repeat of CSI: Miami on CBS and on ABC the 2006 motion picture Dreamgirls which had already played all over cable. Leno’s primetime debut was seen by 17.7 million viewers and pulled a 5.1 preliminary adults 18-49 rating. That’s 34% stronger in the adult demo than the final national household rating for Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show debut last June (9.2 million viewers and a 3.8 adults 18-49 rating) and 50% higher than Leno’s final Tonight Show last May (11.9 million viewers and a 3.4 rating). So what does this mean? Nothing. That’s right, nothing. In fact, the show should do well all week because there’s nothing but repeats or news on the networks. Speaking at the annual Goldman Sachs “Communacopia” Conference, Zucker said he was “very pleased” with the “incredibly strong audience” ratings for the show. “Obviously Jay got off to a very nice start last night” he said but cautioned “there’s a very long way to go from here. We’ll judge this on 52 weeks, not one night.” Right now, Leno’s primetime show can’t command the same ad rates as 10 PM scripted shows. Then again Jay’s show is cheaper, all part of Zucker’s managing for margins, not ratings, strategy for the last place network.
'Leno Show' Debuts Well Against Repeats
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