After one night, NBC's "The Jay Leno Show" experiment is a huge success. Will that still be the case after two nights or a week or a month? Who knows, but Monday's premiere will give NBC plenty to crow about.
Meanwhile, The CW's premieres for "One Tree Hill" and "Gossip Girl" settled into last season's averages without much variation.
Among adults 18-49, NBC controlled the night with a 3.9 rating, far ahead of the 1.8 ratings for CBS and FOX. ABC was fourth in the key demographic with a 1.5 rating, with The CW's 1.3 rating trailing.
Overall, NBC averaged an estimated 15.11 million viewers to go with a 9.3 rating/15 share. CBS was a distant second with a 3.8/6, topping the 3.3/5 for ABC and FOX. The CW trailed with a 1.7/3.
NBC swept the primetime hours starting at 8 p.m. with the 7.9/12 first hour of "America's Got Talent," which also won the hour in the key demo with a 3.0 rating. The first hour of ABC's broadcast of "Dreamgirls" was second with a 3.6/6, just in front of CBS' two episodes of "How I Met Your Mother." On FOX, "House" averaged a 3.1/5, well in front of the 1.7/3 for the season premiere of "One Tree Hill," which also averaged a 1.2 rating in the 18-49 demo.
"America's Got Talent" improved to a 9.1/14 for NBC in in the 9 p.m. hour. CBS improved to second with a 3.9/6 for repeats of "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory" (with the latter comedy "Men" in both viewers and the demo). ABC's "Dreamgirls" and FOX's "House" were tied for third. The premiere of "Gossip Girl" on The CW did a 1.7/3 with 2.52 million viewers and a 1.3 in the key demo.
"The Jay Leno Show" exploded at 10 p.m. with an 11.0/17 and nearly 17.7 million viewers. The comedy hour also averaged a 5.1 rating in the key demo and while its viewership dipped very slightly in its second half-hour, the 18-49 figure went up. CBS' "CSI: Miami" was second with a 4.0/7, leaving ABC's "Dreamgirls" in third.
How much of that first-night success was based on love for Jay Leno? How much was based on curiosity about performer/guest Kanye West? How much was based on an "America's Got Talent" finale lead-in that ran a minute into the 10 p.m. hour (just for insurance)?
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.