Jay Leno's debut in primetime Sept. 14 drew a 5.3 rating/14 share in the key 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen Nationals. The program drew 18.4 million total viewers.
The launch of The Jay Leno Show more than doubled NBC's average rating for the previous year in the 10 p.m. slot.
The entire television industry--particularly NBC affiliates, whose late news follows The Jay Leno Show--have been eagerly anticipating Leno's primetime debut. However, a fuller ratings picture likely won't come into focus until initial curiosity-fueld sampling fades and viewership levels off.
The premiere episode featured an appearance by Jerry Seinfeld, a surprise remote visit from Oprah Winfrey and an impromptu sit-down with rapper Kanye West, who addressed his behavior at the Sept. 13 MTV Video Music Awards before proceeding with a previously scheduled performance with Jay-Z and Rihanna.