The Jay Leno Effect

By Nick Coluzzi

Jay Leno used to be funny.  He also used to help NBC by maintaining high ratings.  Nowadays, Leno is incapable of doing either.

The Jay Leno Show‘s dismal rating are not only bad for his show, but it is also proving to be bad for the NBC news shows that follow.

As Leno’s show continues to fail, more and more viewers are tuning in to other shows, even after his 10 – 11 p.m. time slot.

The 11 p.m. time slot for news stations affiliated with NBC are affected the most by Leno’s terrible ratings.  His low ratings attribute to news stations losing viewers to other news stations, such as rival CBS.

But it doesn’t end there.

Leno’s poor performance in ratings also affects the viewership numbers for morning news stations the day after.  The theory behind this is that when people wake up in the morning they do not change the channel from what it was on last.  Since people aren’t watching Leno’s show on NBC, people aren’t watching NBC news shows in the morning either.

Leno’s effect is a great example of how networks need strong programing to support the shows that follow, particularly news shows.

Without a good supporting show that leads viewers into the news, that channel’s chances of winning first place in the time slot is decreased.  As NBC is seeing, without such support, viewers are tuning in to other networks, both at night and the next morning.

However, if news stations have such great news coverage and present the news in a manner that viewers will tune in regardless of what is scheduled in front of the news show, then this issue is nonexistent.

Maybe networks should worry more about how they present the news rather than how to guide viewers into watching it.  If not, maybe watching the news on TV will die out along with newspapers.

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One response to “The Jay Leno Effect

  1. Content: Good post. I had never thought about the argument that people watch whatever channel is left on from the night before. TV news is already dying out like newspapers and executives are scrambling to figure out how to rewrite the formula to save it. The question is, what will drive a viewer to tune in?
    Links: 3
    Grammar: 3 (watch a few typos one ‘s error)

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