September 22, 2009

I knew it wouldn't work.

I almost forgot to put up a review of The Jay Leno Show which I "watched" last night for the first time. I use quotes there because TiVo'd the ep only to see his guest, Jennifer Garner, the rest of the show received the 3X fast forward treatment.

Here's the thing about The Jay Leno Show. NBC's ratings have been sinking deeper and deeper into an abyss over the last few years. Partly due to poor decisions by previous programming regimes, partly due to poor marketing efforts for their best quality shows and partly due to bad shows. So when Leno decided to quit The Tonight Show but told the network he still wanted a steady paycheck, they jumped at the chance to give him a show in primetime. But their desperation coupled with the fact that he was the only person on their schedule who'd consistently won in the ratings, led to the stupidest thing they've done yet - they put his show on 5 nights a week at 10/9C. That means that he goes up against shows like CSI, CSI: Miami, The Mentalist and Private Practice - all of which are ratings grabbers.

NBC premiered Leno's show last week before any of the other 10:00 time-slot shows' seasons had begun. Naturally, in the absence of anything new to watch, people tuned in to Leno and NBC thought they had really done it. But last night, up against new episodes of scripted series for the first time, the ratings for The Jay Leno Show were down by 12 million viewers. Even the critically reviled Castle beat it by almost double.

From what I could tell, the show was not markedly different than The Tonight Show except that he only had one interview guest so he could spend a bit more time with that person and they've moved the order of things around a bit.

Jennifer Garner was, of course, a lovely guest. She was funny and beautiful. She talked about her husband and her kids and the regular-ness of their life and baseball. I'm not going to lie, if Jay has someone on his show that I adore as I do Ms. Garner and my DVR space will allow it, I will TiVo his show from time to time. But it's not a good show and if last night's ratings are any indication, it's already been revealed as the failed experiment so many expected it to be.

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