Much of the prime-time audience lost to NBC when Jay Leno moved into prime-time has gone not to its rivals but the digital video recorder.
Rival network executives seemed almost giddy at the possibilities last spring after NBC announced Leno would do a comedy show five nights a week at 10 p.m. There will be more viewers available “for people who put on great dramas,” said Leslie Moonves, CBS chief executive, “and that’s what we do.”
It hasn’t quite worked out that way.
NBC’s audience at that hour is down sharply, as many predicted. CBS is up 6 percent over last season, primarily because it moved the hit series “The Mentalist” into that slot; on three of the five nights, its audience is down. ABC is also down slightly at that hour, and it wasn’t exactly overwhelmed with hits last year, either.
With one-third of American TV households now equipped with DVRs like TiVo, the 10 p.m. hour is emerging as a popular time for people to catch up on what they missed earlier in the evening, or earlier in the week. More…