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Jay Leno ratings: How did his new prime-time show do?

The debut of the Jay Leno Show benefited from Kanye West's remorseful appearance, but many viewers were underwhelmed.

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"I appreciated seeing Kanye West," says Nick Santoro, a sophomore from Boston. He questions, though, whether there is a need for yet another talk show. "Jay's had his time," he says. "Now everyone has to have a show, even [actress] Tori Spelling. Jay won't last," he predicts. "Maybe he'll outlast Tori, but not by much."

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Fellow sophomore Sylvia Burn, who comes from New Orleans, says the show was kind of funny, but that everyone, guests and host, "tried way too hard." As to whether she'd tune in on any regular basis, Ms. Burn isn't sure: But "I'd probably watch Jay over 'CSI.' "

An older group of viewers watching in Sherman Oaks, on the other hand, say they would rather watch a drama at 10 p.m. than a comedy talk show.

"I want something more substantial at that hour," says Lisa Taylor, a mother of a junior-high and high schooler who rises at 5 a.m. The show didn't rise above its "Tonight Show" predecessor, she says. "It was a very run-of-the-mill talk show."

Nathalie Miller, another mom of two teens, agrees, although she gives the set designer points for a hipper, colorful stage. "It was definitely better than before," she says.

Her spouse, Scott Miller, suggests that the show's trump card – and possibly its salvation – is its ability to be topical. The show's première "obviously benefited from the amount of curiosity and buzz" around Kanye West's appearance, he says. The musician appeared on the verge of tears in an effort to apologize for interrupting fellow musician Taylor Swift's acceptance speech Monday night at the Video Music Awards. "Jay is the first in the line-up of newsy talk shows," notes Mr. Miller, "which is good for him, but I wonder how Conan O'Brien and even Jimmy Fallon are going to feel about that in the long run."

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