17.7 Million Viewers Tune In For Leno Premiere

Critics may not have loved Jay Leno's prime-time debut, but 17.7 million viewers tuned in to check him out.

Nielsen Media Research says that's the biggest audience for a prime-time television show since the "American Idol" finale in May.

Not only was Leno's debut heavily publicized, but he piggybacked on one of Monday's biggest stories. Leno had scheduled Kanye West, who was pressed to explain why he interrupted Taylor Swift the night before on the MTV Video Music Awards.

That's a big boost for NBC, but the challenge will be to hold viewers.

Critics were harsh, with Robert Bianco of USA Today slamming it as a "cut-rate, snooze-inducing, rehashed bore."

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  • by Matt Location: NC on Sep 15, 2009 at 09:55 PM
    I will never watch the Leno show again. What a play on numbers. I will suggest to all my friends and family to tune his show out because he clearly used a terible moment in TV history to gain watchers and publicity. What a loser and a opportunist. If he had a high ranking ACORN official on that would be different. I would love to hear their excuse right now.

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