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The TV Ratings Are Dominated by .... Leno?

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | September 23, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | September 23, 2009 |

Last week saw the roll-out of some of the new fall schedule on the networks, so I thought we’d take a look at the ratings and see how they did. The biggest note, here, is that four of the first week’s episodes of “The Jay Leno Show” broke the top 20. The better news, however, (at least for people who aren’t a fan of Leno) is that his Monday episode this week — the first up against real competition — scored only 5.7 million viewers, down from 18.5 million a week before. In fact, David Letterman — two hours later — actually beat Leno with over 7 million viewers, thanks to the appearance of Barack Obama.

I suspect, however, that 5.7 million is plenty to keep the cheaply produced Leno show quite profitable for NBC. It’s going to need to drop even more (3 million?) before it falls below the break-even point. But even if it is profitable for the company in that time slot, you have to believe that it’s bringing down the rest of NBC’s schedule, hurting the 11 p.m. local newscasts, and further damaging Conan. It’s still too early to tell, but I think (hope?) that this little experiment is beginning to show signs of failure.

Nevertheless, NBC won the week, thanks to Leno, Sunday night football, the last of “America’s Got Talent,” “The Biggest Loser,” and the Thursday night comedy block. Speaking of that block, both “The Office” and “Community” did well, breaking the top 20 (against little competition), but “Parks and Recreation” didn’t fare nearly as well. However, good news: “Glee” fell off only 10 percent, and just this week, got the back nine picked up. Fox is actually going to give us a full season of a decent show. Meanwhile, The CW’s “Melrose Place,” is not doing well at all. I hear that they are bringing in Heather Locklear to reprise her role from the original. My guess: It won’t help.

Here are your top 20 shows for last week.

1. (4) NFL Football: New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys, NBC, 24.82 million viewers.

2. (23) “Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick,” NBC, 18.91 million viewers.

3. (X) “The Jay Leno Show” (Monday), NBC, 18.42 million viewers.

4. (15) “America’s Got Talent” (Wednesday), NBC, 15.79 million viewers.

5. (X) “NFL Post Game,” CBS, 15.52 million viewers.

6. (X) “America’s Got Talent” (Monday), NBC, 13.9 million viewers.

7. (X) “Emmy Awards,” CBS, 13.47 million viewers.

8. (X) “The Jay Leno Show” (Wednesday), NBC, 13.363 million viewers.

9. (50) “Football Night in America,” NBC, 13.362 million viewers.

10. (15) “60 Minutes,” CBS, 13.12 million viewers.

11. (6) “NCIS,” CBS, 12.44 million viewers.

12. (X) “Survivor: Samoa,” CBS, 11.66 million viewers.

13. (X) “The Jay Leno Show” (Tuesday), NBC, 11.09 million viewers.

14. (46) “Bones,” Fox, 10.36 million viewers.

15. (X) “Biggest Loser 8,” NBC, 9.9 million viewers.

16. (8) “The Mentalist,” CBS, 9.07 million viewers.

17. (X) “The Jay Leno Show” (Thursday), NBC, 8.82 million viewers.

18. (7) “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 8.8 million viewers.

19. (65) “The Office,” NBC, 8.21 million viewers.

20. (X) “Community,” NBC, 7.89 million viewers.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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