Analyst: CBS main beneficiary of “The Jay Leno Effect”


Since “The Jay Leno Show” on NBC is drawing fewer viewers than the more expensive scripted fare it replaced, where have those viewers gone? Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker is out with some numbers that suggest Les Moonves should be sending Jay a big bouquet of roses.

There’s no way to know for certain what former viewers of “My Own Worst Enemy,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Lipstick Jungle,” “ER” and “Life” are watching these days, but Ryvicker’s model assumes that 75% of those lost to NBC (the 33% gap she estimates between the previous audience and that for Leno once the newness wears off) are watching something else on broadcast TV (ABC or CBS, since Fox doesn’t program the hour) and 25% migrated to cable.

Based on Nielsen ratings for the first two weeks of the new season, Ryvicker figures the weeknight gains for CBS range from 700,000 to 1.6 million viewers – a total of 5.2 million viewers per week.

Leno’s trends, she says are in line with expectations. “At first glance, Jay Leno’s year-over-year rating trends seem to have improved, at -25% this week versus -30% last week. However, when we dug further into the data, we noticed that easier comps were responsible for this improvement as NBC’s prior year ratings had decreased 7-8% sequentially. We will continue to monitor this trend as the season progresses,” Ryvicker said in a research report on week two of the TV season.