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'Jay Leno Show' ratings drop despite cancellation talk

Leno couric Guess fans weren't all that curious how Jay Leno would respond to reports of his show's cancellation/migration.

"The Jay Leno Show" was the only original non-sports program on broadcast last night -- all the other programs scared out of the pool because of ABC's airing of the Texas vs. Alabama game. You can either view this as stacked odds against Jay Leno or, if you've been listening to NBC executives this past year, a perfect counterprogramming opportunity.

"Leno Show" drew 4.6 million viewers and a 1.4 preliminary adults 18-49 rating, ranking as the second-lowest-rated show on a major broadcast network (behind "Parks and Recreation"), even though everybody else aired encores. That's also down 18% from the talk show host's Thursday average.

In the telecast, Leno semi-joked about not knowing what NBC executives were planning and switching networks (video here).

The ratings come on the heels of another piece of glum NBC statistical news, with the network dropping 8% to fourth place in the annual SRG survey of "must-keep" network brands. CBS is now #1.

Correct ratings for the national championship game will be in this afternoon. Based on the prelims, they look pretty huge, with a 10.2 very prelim adults 18-49 rating, up slightly from last year. 

For those interested in the Leno saga, be sure to check out The Live Feed's non-stop coverage of the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena. The event kicks off this weekend with sessions by CBS, Showtime, The CW, Bravo, Syfy and, yes, NBC.