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Jay Leno’s ‘Pee-wee’ Ratings May Be Good For Business

September 23rd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Paul Reubens, who is resurrecting his alter-ego Pee-wee Herman for a series of live shows in LA this November, paid a visit to The Jay Leno Show last night, in character. While it’s not as uncomfortable as I would have thought, the sight of the 57-year-old Reubens inhabiting his trademark man child again takes a little getting used to.

The appearance by Pee-wee wasn’t enough to improve the ratings for the show, which have been plunging faster than the waist lines of the contestants of The Biggest Loser. Last night’s episode, which faced stiff competition from the series premiere of The Good Wife on CBS (whose days, after viewing last night’s premiere, are sure to be numbered) and The Forgotten on ABC, drew less than half of the audience that tuned in to the heavily hyped premiere a week ago. Here’s an excerpt from the press release NBC sent out today regarding last night’s numbers. It’s a great exercise in spin control:

The Jay Leno Show ranked #3 among the major networks in the time period in adults 18-49, #3 in adults 25-54 (the key demographic for late local news) and #3 in total viewers. The Jay Leno Show was #1 among the major networks in the time period among adults 18-34.”

The ratings drop may be bad for advertisers, but a low rated Leno show could actually part of NBC’s game plan. John Ferriter, the head of non-scripted entertainment at William Morris Endeavor, praised NBC at a producer’s panel in Beverly Hills yesterday. He said that the last place network could make $300 million a year with a mere 1.5 rating. In that case why doesn’t NBC throw out scripted programming altogether? Oh wait, they pretty much already did that.

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