The second night of NBC's "Jay Leno" experiment had the show percolating at still strong but expected lower numbers.
Leno lost 38% of his key 18-49 opening night viewers to a Nielsen preliminary 3.3 rating/9 share, down on Tuesday from his premiere of a 5.3/14 on Monday. Overall viewers also slipped -- to 10.7 million from 17.7 million the night before.
NBC notes that these are the highest 18-49 results for "Loser" in four years, since a 4.1/10 performance back in October 2004.
Not surprisingly, NBC carried the night, with few networks offering much competition in the way of fresh programming. Most of the season's new TV fare starts up next week.
CBS was the only network to put up a fight. Its two-hour "Big Brother" finale earned a 2.8/8 from 9 to 10 p.m. This came after another decent repeat of "NCIS" at 2.4/7, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Fox had less to offer with "More to Love." Its two-hour big-person dating reality effort finale from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. clocked in with a diet-conscious 1.7/4, in line with its recent seasonal average.
Somewhat troubling news for CW was its new "Melrose Place." It landed at a 1.0/3 in 18-49, and 1.8 million viewers overall, falling more than 20% from its series launch the week before. The CW's "90210" was a bit better, with a 1.2/4 in 18-49 and 2.4 million viewers.
In CW's more core demo of women 18-34, "90210" scored a competitive 2.3/7; "Melrose" was somewhat less at a 1.7/5.
ABC's best came from a Barbara Walters special on Patrick Swayze, which tallied a 1.8/5. Earlier in the night, the finale of "Shaq Vs." got its best results for the athletic competition series, with a 1.7/4.
For the night among 18-49 viewers, NBC won with a 3.7/10. CBS was next at a 2.7/8. After that, the remaining broadcast networks results were: Fox at a 1.7/5; Univision with a 1.6/4; ABC at a 1.5/4; and CW with a 1.1/3.