Jay Leno has had a year of highs and lows. When we first heard the news of Conan O'Brien replacing him on The Tonight Show, everyone wondered about his next gig. (The majority of you felt that he should abandon TV entirely!) But the guy wasn't going anywhere, and NBC soon announced that he'd be getting a brand-new show to helm on NBC with a twist — a 10 p.m. air time.
The move would prove thrifty for NBC, since the show is cheaper to produce than scripted programs, but the primetime slot meant that Leno would be going up against successful shows on other networks, like CSI. Would the risk pay off?
To recap what happened,
The show premiered in September to a ton of hype — with lackluster results. Ratings some nights have dipped below the five million number that he made at late-night, which falls incredibly short of what's expected from a 10 p.m. show. Buzz started circulating that Leno was beginning to drag down the rest of the NBC programming, coining the term "The Leno Effect." Local affiliates complained that he was hurting their 11 p.m. news, and The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon both saw a decline in numbers. Leno became the butt of TV jokes — even 30 Rock got in a jab.
But there is hope for Leno yet. Last week, insiders said that his program has stopped its downward spiral, with recent episodes maintaining or improving its adult demo rating as opposed to the previous week. The cause of the turnaround: many attribute it to reruns from his competing scripted shows. Personally, I think Twilight fans helped. (Leno had New Moon stars Taylor Lautner, Dakota Fanning, and Kellan Lutz on the program.) It's probably a combination of both, but one has to wonder if NBC will continue to put money into something that appears to be dead in the water in its first season.
Have you been watching The Jay Leno Show? Do you think it's time to pull the plug?
Don't forget to check out other highlights from this year with my Best of 2009 polls!
Photo courtesy of NBC