Leno premieres with 17.7m, but…
17.7 million Americans tuned in for Jay Leno's new show but TV critics weren't rapt in what they saw.
17.7 million Americans tuned in for Jay Leno’s new show, but TV critics weren’t rapt in what they saw.
Update: seems it’s since been bumped up to 18.4m!
The Jay Leno Show‘s debut at 10pm is a high stakes risk for the struggling NBC network, moving a culturally late-night format into primetime, where dramas traditionally play out.
Roughly 5 million used to regularly watch his Tonight Show. It improved on that finale in May by about 50%, and averaged a 5.1 rating/13 share in adults 18-49. On sheer figures it was a big win.
For his first show, Leno had comedian Jerry Seinfeld, a timely appearance from rapper Kanye West and comedy skits involving talk-show host Oprah Winfrey and President Barack Obama. But critics were mostly unimpressed.
“Sixteen minutes into the new The Jay Leno Show, it was difficult not to panic. This is the future of television? This wasn’t even a good rendition of television past,” wrote Los Angeles TV critic Mary McNamara.
“Five nights a week of ‘Jay Leno‘ presents a too-high risk factor to deviate too far from the norm — and what’s left is an unsettled sense that they’re throwing things on the wall to see what sticks,” wrote Randee Dawn of The Hollywood Reporter.
The show airs 7:30pm weeknights on the Comedy Channel in Oz.