Commentary

Good News For 10 P.M. Leno Fans: Those Ratings Better Than Current NBC Lineup's (Now, Where's MY DVR)

 

NBC's critics might be having a party this week: NBC's new 10 p.m. shows are doing worse than "The Jay Leno Show" was doing in the same time slot a year ago.

Of course, we all might forget that "Leno" was doing worse than the shows he replaced a year before that.

Blame NBC if you want to -- and the outgoing administration. But I'm betting other networks aren't yucking it up. That's because 10 p.m. has increasingly become the time when people use their DVRs to playback other shows. That means tough work for the likes of "The Good Wife," "Private Practice," and  "Law & Order: SVU." 

Network researchers have known this for some time, and the practice will continue to get worse, especially now that 40% of U.S. homes with TVs are using these machines.  

The irony is that one of the main reasons for putting "Leno" on  at 10 p.m. in the first place was that viewers wouldn't be watching NBC's competitors, they would in theory watch NBC because "Leno"'s show would have be fresh and new every night -- especially during the seasons of many repeats in December, January and March. 

More ripples headed NBC's way:  the latest incarnation of Leno, back at 11:30, hasn't yet gotten anywhere near his pre-Conan O'Brien rating levels. More recently, Leno's "Tonight" show has been in a virtual dead heat with "Late Show with David Letterman" for viewers.

Still, you'd be hard-pressed to find any TV executive petitioning Leno to return to the 10 p.m. time slot. That's the way TV works. We pretty much forget the recent past, and quickly rush to the new fire closer to our programming home.

What we don't fully know is how Leno compares in those ratings that really matter to advertisers and networks pocketbooks: commercial ratings (C3). We're guessing he might still be ahead, since there is less time shifting of live talk shows than 10 p.m. dramas.

So I stand corrected: I do remember the recent TV past. NBC should only hope Comcast doesn't do the same.

3 comments about "Good News For 10 P.M. Leno Fans: Those Ratings Better Than Current NBC Lineup's (Now, Where's MY DVR)".
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  1. Darrin Stephens, October 20, 2010 at 1:24 p.m.

    NBC has quite the daisy chain of failure:

    Leno's primetime show was lower rated than the primetime shows he replaced.

    Leno's primetime ratings were also lower than when he hosted the Tonight Show in late night.

    Conan's Tonight ratings were lower than Leno's old Tonight ratings.

    Leno's new Tonight ratings are lower than Conan's.

    NBC's 10pm ratings are lower than Leno's primetime show...

    where will the spiral stop?

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 20, 2010 at 1:38 p.m.

    The 18-49 demo was devised when 18-19 was the time folk got married and had families and worked in factories. Idealizing the 50's is lovely. 90% tax rates with little to no regulation. So which of those 3 do not work so well today? Which one shifted will change the ratings (ad) game?

  3. George McLam, October 20, 2010 at 5:41 p.m.

    I don't understand why those older than 50 are all of a sudden of no interest to advertisers, unless it is because once we reach that age we understand how to avoid ads.

    Everything takes time, you have to build audiences. Look at some of the biggest shows in the past 30+ years and you'll see they did not have good ratings early on. If you keep changing things (including a new owner), expect things to keep being low (or lower than last year).

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