Wednesday, December 30, 2009

MediaPost Examines Leno Ratings In December

Not So Funny: 'Jay Leno' Show Under-Performs
Wayne Friedman, Dec 24, 2009 02:54 PM

In the big pool of December reruns -- a place where "The Jay Leno Show" was supposed to shine -- the NBC talk program is still mired in mid 1 ratings among 18-49 viewers, under his season average.

Case in point: in the week leading up to Christmas, "Leno" averaged a 1.4 rating/4 share among 18-49 viewers -- numbers that are down versus its 1.73 season average rating through Dec. 13. His average in December alone is at a 1.5 rating.

NBC has touted that in those lower TV viewing periods, fresh programming from "Leno" would come his way when up against reruns and lesser programming on the network.

The positive for NBC? In some cases, "Leno" has moved into second place during the time period. One Tuesday -- Dec. 22, for example -- a repeat of "The Good Wife" posted a 1.7 rating/5 share, while "Leno" earned a 1.5/5, and a repeat of ABC's "Christmas at The White House" grabbed a 0.9/3.

Rich Greenfield, media industry analyst at Pali Research, says cable's ratings, already on the rise overall, have been higher during the 10 p.m. time period, due in part to "Leno." Cable networks have picked up 1.6 adult 18-49 ratings points, some of this coming from ABC and CBS.

In the first week of Leno's show, curiosity from viewers pushed his average for the week to a 3.42 rating against 18-49 viewers -- twice as high as his current season average. In the weeks following, the show fell to a 1.92, 1.74, then to a 1.66 in weeks four and five.

In weeks six through 11, "Leno" ratings held steady around the 1.5 rating range, with a 1.54, 1.48, 1.48, 1.46, 1.52, and a 1.48. Then they fell in week 12 to a 1.35 average -- the last week in the November sweeps where other networks offered big new programming.

Week 13 spiked up to a 1.72 rating, most of that coming from a big 2.9 rating on Tuesday Dec. 8 following the conclusion of "The Biggest Loser."

NBC also said the Leno show would deliver less time-shifting -- a positive for many TV advertisers that fear viewers who fast-forward through commercials.

According to a report by Brad Adgate, senior vice president and corporate research director of media-buying agency Horizon Media, "Leno" viewership has only been boosted by 6.4% over seven days, while the overall prime-time average is up 19%.

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