"The Jay Leno Show" Is a Hit! ... Says TV Research Swami

Last Updated Jul 28, 2009 11:29 AM EDT

Ben Silverman, your legacy can rest easy, even as you are eased out of your job as the top programming dude at NBC. According to NewMediaMetrics, which has predicted the outcome of the fall TV season correctly for four seasons running, "The Jay Leno Show" is going to be a hit for NBC, particularly on Tuesdays, when it goes up against two new series: ABC's "Forgotten" (which NMM thinks nonetheless has a bright future) and CBS' "The Good Wife" (think Silda Spitzer). The company also sees a bright spot on Thursdays, when the show is expected to be movie promo night, not only from an advertising standpoint -- as that's when the studios heavy up on the commercials before the weekend -- but also because Leno's show will become a magnet for movie stars. Another breakout hit: CBS' "NCIS Los Angeles", the first spinoff of the "NCIS".

You can see the dynamic here quite quickly: even as the networks try to stimulate interest in new series, in NMM view, we will fall back on the tried-and-true. The company has a more scientific explanation: it has to do with emotional bonding, as, according to Mediaweek, its methodology is based on the work of a behavioralist from the 1940s named Jonathan Bowlby who studied emotional bonding between mothers and their children. Apparently, that translates to the emotional bond viewers have with Leno. According to the company's research, 17 percent of his viewers gave him at least a 9 out of 10. Are they going to detach from Jay to watch a new show? Nah!

This prediction also dovetails nicely with research I pointed to the other day from Simulmedia, which notes that Conan O'Brien viewers are loyal to Conan, and not necessarily their habit of staying up really late. Of course, NMM could end up being wrong, but to get away from the emotional bonding analogy for a moment and move onto another one, Leno is like comfort food. And you know how we love our comfort food.

Previous coverage of "The Jay Leno Show" at BNET Media: