Leno Format Being Retooled as Ratings Lag

Nov 11, 2009  •  Post A Comment

NBC is retooling the format of Jay Leno’s 10 p.m. weeknight strip to make it more closely resemble his old latenight talk show, B&C reports.

Leno’s signature comedy bits, including “Headlines,” and “Jay Walking,” are now airing after his monologue, instead of at the end of the show where they were moved when the comic shifted from latenight to primetime.

The changes come as the show on Monday hit a 1.2 rating in Nielsen fast nationals, matching its series low.

–Elizabeth Jensen



  1. Jay is being a good trooper through all this THIRTY ROCK – PEACOCK NETWORK – BAD IDEA, called: MOVE JAY TO TEN PM.
    Conan is NOT an 11:35 TONIGHT SHOW commodity and they’e scurring around trying to fix their BIG Programming SNAFU.
    Jay is their ROCK at 11:35 and the sooner they twist it back to that the better off their numbers will eventually be.
    Peter Bright

  2. Shouldn’t they be making it LESS like his latenight show? As it is, it doesn’t feel like a primetime show, so why make it even MORE latenight-like? I think they should be looking to THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW or THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW as a model. More comedy sketches and variety acts, and cut the long celebrity interviews entirely. Celebrity interviews are way too boring for primetime. If they want celebs on the show, get them into the comedy sketches ala SNL. As for the monologue, cut it up into bits and sprinkle it throughout the hour. Fifteen minutes of nonstop Leno jokes is a test of endurance in primetime, even if Jay’s particularly funny that night. They’d be much easier to take in 3-5 minute chunks.

  3. And considering Jay’s now being beaten by SPONGEBOB in the 18-49 demo, perhaps he should consider getting some cartoons on the show.
    I remember he used to premiere new JIBJAB shorts on THE TONIGHT SHOW. Maybe if he started every LENO with a fun little JIBJAB short, people might stay tuned for the rest.
    At the very least, get the JIBJAB guys to animate a new theme song for him! The one he’s got with the montage of old photos is insanely horrible, makes you wanna grab the remote and click the hell out of it (either that or fall asleep). It looks like it was put together in Windows Movie Maker or something.

  4. I think you are exactly right about using THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW as a model for PRIME TIME JAY. I grew up on the DEAN MARTIN SHOW, and the first time I saw the new Leno show, I thought get rid of those two stupid chairs and do what DINO did! Drop the lame interviews, and create some GREAT TELEVISION with your guests. Yes Jay I believe you are the only one at present time who can save PRIME-TIME TELEVISION. You have the talent AND the mojo.

  5. Gary:
    Exactly! People are still buying DVD collections of THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW four decades later, obviously he did something right. I don’t think Dino was on five nights a week, but still.
    A couple nights ago most of the show was devoted to KATHY GRIFFIN rambling on! In primetime on NBC! She and DIABLO CODY were the only celebrities on that night’s shows! Nothing against either of them, but this is PRIMETIME on what not too long ago was a MAJOR NETWORK. Nobody wants to see Jay Leno ask Diablo Cody ten random questions via satellite. That TEN@TEN format should only be used in the case of Tom Cruise or an Obama! NOT the screenwriter of JUNO.
    A show like this in primetime needs to be an EVENT! It’s gotta be jam-packed with great stuff, not be an episode of Jay Leno’s TONIGHT SHOW an hour and a half earlier. Jay was never great at interviewing, so just cut them entirely unless he’s got somebody like Kanye West or Hugh Grant on.

  6. I really want Jay Leno to work at 10p. Unfortunately, the writing sucks! There are a lot more talented writers available to make this show work. Hire them instead of changing the format.

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