Leno’s Ratings Have Fallen To Conan Levels

Did NBC make a mistake in returning Jay Leno to The Tonight Show? Team Coco claims that “Leno’s losing to repeats of Letterman, and his ratings have dipped below those achieved by Conan O’Brien for the first time since he returned to the Tonight Show stage.” TV By The Numbers has a chart showing how close Leno’s ratings are to Conan’s.

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  1. 1
    Jim Z. says:

    It always mystified me that Jay Leno “retired” only to jump right back into the game.  He had everything going for him; why leave when he did?

    I liked both Leno and letterman, in their very different styles, and still see them as representing, together, a broad spectrum of what Americans think funny.  I’m probably too dense to see about 75% of Conan’s humor, but don’t totally dislike him; he had/has potential.

    But with Jay being absent from the tube for the better part of half a year (?), really took wind out of his sails.  I liken it to a favorite prime-time TV show that I watched religiously, then couldn’t for a half-season because of a weekly evening commitment on my part.  Even though I never stopped liking it, I just didn’t pick it up again later once my diversion ended.

    So, to me it was as much a case of unfortunate timing and  logistics as much as content.  He may be history when it really didn’t have to have been that way.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Leno didn’t retire, or leave the 11:35 spot voluntarily. This came from a deal NBC made five years earlier in the hopes of keeping both Leno and O’Brien. The idea back then was for O’Brien to take over and Leno retire, with NBC not expecting Leno to being as well in the ratings as he was last year. Leno did not want to leave when the time came so they tried him at 10:00 instead.

    Leno now has two things going against him. He lost ratings partially due to being gone from the 11:35 spot for so long. He is also probably not doing as well due to the stigma of having a failed show at 10:00, along with all the negative publicity from what happened to O’Brien.

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