"The Jay Leno Show" will premiere Monday, Sept. 14 at 10 p.m., NBC announced today.
That’s one week before the 2009-10 television season officially begins. There had been some buzz that NBC might try to get Leno on the air even earlier, perhaps the last week of August.
The question now is whether rivals ABC and CBS will begin rolling out their 10 p.m. dramas the week of Sept. 14 in order to blunt Leno’s premiere week. Such a move might have short-term benefits, but it would mean increasing the number of in-season repeats later in the year.
NBC executives have privately said they wouldn’t be surprised if Leno often finishes in third place at 10 p.m. when facing original scripted competition. But with Leno in originals at least 46 weeks a year, the network is counting on making up the ratings gap during weeks in which other networks are in repeat mode.
While NBC is now using "The Jay Leno Show" as the title for its primetime comedy hour, there’s always a chance the network could decide to go with a different name before launch.