Leno’s First Week Rollercoaster Ride

Jay Leno’s new primetime program had a strong first night – as expected – but the rest of his first week was a rollercoaster ride.   I am tracking his overnight numbers in some select markets – four of them with only Household meters, and two markets that show the 25-54 demo each night.  I think it will give us a good snapshot of Leno’s performance over the next few weeks.

The household only overnight markets are in Columbus, Ohio; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Ft. Myers, Florida; and Greemville-Spartanburg.    The two markets with the 25-54 overnights are Seattle and Tampa.

Overall, Leno’s number spiked up on Monday and Wednesday – and spiked down the rest of the week.  His average HH number (in my 4-market sample) for the week was 7.58.  That included a 10.2 average HH number on Monday that dropped to a 4.85 HH on Friday.  The encouraging news for NBC affiliates in my little sample is that they retained an average of 85% of that audience into their late newscasts.

In the two markets (Seattle and Tampa) that have the LPM’s – the Leno show averaged a 4.83 for the week in the 25-54 demo.  If memory serves that is a better number than usual NBC primetime fare in the past few months.  The 25-54 retention rate into the late newscast in those two markets was quite a bit lower than the HH markets at 58%.  But at 2.82 it was a little higher than normal for those two NBC affiliates at 11 p.m.

It is early – but it appears that the audience fluctuation may be higher than most pundits predicted.  The numbers jumped around all week.  In the HH markets the Leno numbers looked like this – 10.2 on Monday, 7.5 on Tuesday, back up to a 9.52 on Wednesday when Robin Williams was on the program, before dropping like a rock to a 5.85 on Thursday, and falling further to a 4.85 on Friday.  It is only the first week – but it looks like the popularity of the guest may affect the HH numbers each night.

Now, there is one important thing to keep in mind.  Last week – all of the networks were still in re-runs.  This week is premiere week and the big guns will be firing at Leno every night with lots of hype and special episodes.  We’ll let you know how it goes in our tracking sample next week.


This entry was posted on Monday, September 21st, 2009 at 11:27 am and is filed under Willi. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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