Jay Leno Boosts Ratings — for ABC

The network’s 10 p.m. dramas are up by double digits since NBC abandoned scripted series in the hour.

Last Updated: November 4, 2009 @ 11:50 AM

It turns out Jay Leno is having a positive effect in the ratings. Unfortunately, the impact is on another network’s numbers.

According to a ratings analysis by ABC, the Alphabet’s collective adults 18-49 Nielsen ratings with scripted series in the 10 p.m. slot have gone up an eye-popping 16 percent since "The Jay Leno Show" debuted this season.

Through the first six weeks of the season, ABC’s 10 p.m. weeknight dramas are up on three of four nights vs. "Leno," and flat on one night. (The network airs newsmagazine "20/20" on Fridays.)

Thursday’s "Private Practice" is doing best in terms of growth, boosting its 10 p.m. slot by 47 percent vs. the first six weeks of last season. On Mondays, "Castle" is up 13 percent, while Tuesday’s "The Forgotten" is up 10 percent (so how ’bout ordering some more episodes, ABC?). Only Wednesday newcomer "Eastwick" isn’t doing better: Its ratings are even with last year, ABC said.

CBS, meanwhile, is also benefiting from "Leno" — at least on some nights.

"The Mentalist" is a big Thursday hit, up 24 percent vs. 2008, while "The Good Wife" has improved a modest 3 percent in its Tuesday slot. And while Monday’s "CSI: Miami" is off a tad (2 percent), given the show’s age, it’s not a stretch to imagine that the absence of a scripted show on NBC could be helping its numbers hang on.

CBS is down double digits with dramas on Wednesday ("CSI:NY," -15 percent) and Fridays ("Numbers," -17 percent).

Of course, as has been well documented, "The Jay Leno Show" has pushed down NBC’s ratings in the 10 p.m. hour by double digits, thus impacting local news numbers and denying "The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien" any real promotional platform. But NBC says it’s OK with Leno’s numbers since the show is still profitable.

The competition, of course, is very OK with it, since it seems to be helping boost 10 p.m. offerings after several seasons in which dramas declined in the hour.

For the record: ABC’s analysis used six-week season-to-date averages and mixed four weeks of live-plus-seven-day DVR data with two weeks of same-day ratings.