• Network: NBC
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 14, 2009
  • Season #: 1

Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 50
    Frontloaded to high heaven or not, it was still a solid premiere. Now, that bad news: None of the standard building blocks of the show seemed that impressive on their own--so that when you tried to imagine the show without an overload of starpower and star-drama, it didn't seem that exciting.
  2. 50
    The boilerplate talk format was reminiscent not only of Leno’s “Tonight Show,’’ but of almost every other late-night talker on the air right now.
  3. Reviewed by: Paige Wiser
    I give Jay's latest effort a firm pat on the back. Keep the scandal-ridden guests on the schedule and make the Dan Band a permanent fixture, and I'll be back for more.
  4. 50
    The first substantial segment wasn't exactly a laugh-riot--it was a musically themed trip to a car wash with singer Dan Finnerty. Even if it was only moderately funny, it reinforced the Jay Leno Show brand of inoffensively average comedy and also established that the show would not be dominated by a couch and celebrity guests.
  5. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    The blandness is lulling whenever it isn't irritating. Unlike David Letterman, for example, Leno is assiduously apolitical.
  6. What changes there were to the “Tonight” format seemed superficial. Otherwise, it could’ve been “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
  7. [This] is why this strange, shallow puddle of comedy is so difficult to accept. With all eyes on Leno, this is the best he, and his writers, and the struggling network could come up with?
  8. Jay was Jay last night--hands in pockets, blue suit, solid monologue. Pleasant, likeable, funny, a guy you'd invite to your barbeque.
  9. 88
    Jay returned with that smart and smartass mix of talent and controversy that separates the pros from the bores.
  10. The one moment people will talk about, and remember, from The Jay Leno Show debut was one of the least comic of Jay's career. It's going to get NBC some water cooler talk, and a lot of website hits, but it's not going to work as a signature "This is why Jay is awesome" clip like I think they were hoping.
  11. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    That's a lot of pressure, even for Iron Jay, and maybe why Night One felt like a work in progress--terribly rough in spots, not bad in others.
  12. So far, though, there's nothing on The Jay Leno Show that's worth losing sleep over.
  13. If you watched Leno on "The Tonight Show," you'll probably watch him in prime time. If you didn't, I can't imagine why you would now, especially once original programming returns to ABC and CBS next week.
  14. Reviewed by: Michael Murray
    With an abundance of pre-taped video segments and satellite interviews, Jay Leno wraps a very old-fashioned sensibility within a modern package. It's an interesting presentation.
  15. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    The Jay Leno Show is of course not the "brand-new hour of comedy" its promos claim; it is brand-old to the bone. But the notion of Leno running some combination of pop-culture confessional booth and prime-time torture chamber has some real appeal.
  16. Reviewed by: Randee Dawn
    He's funny in a familiar, tasteful way; that blunt edge promised in some of his promos never cuts through too much.
  17. The set was slightly different, and Mr. Leno spoke with his guests in matching armchairs, not across a desk, but the content and tone of the premiere looked and sounded like any ordinary “Tonight” show.
  18. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    NBC has been telling us all summer, was "comedy at 10," not simply a second Tonight Show. Instead, what we got was a monologue, a couple taped comedy bits, an interview, a musical act, another interview and Headlines.
  19. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    The only moment anyone’s likely to remember from the colossal dud of The Jay Leno Show's opening night--which felt more like an off night of the old Tonight Show--was a moment where no joke was cracked, indeed where no word was spoken.
  20. 40
    Without Kanye West, and his conveniently timed controversy from the MTV Video Music Awards, NBC's Jay Leno Show premiere Monday would have been even more of a cut-rate, snooze-inducing, rehashed bore. If Leno's desire is to help fans get to sleep earlier, desire satisfied.
  21. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    The problem with the new approach, even in the premiere, is it feels like some bits are being padded to avoid front-loading the show.
  22. From its looks so far, the new Leno show is the old Leno show. Even so, much remains to be seen of this enterprise, described as the hour that may change the nature of television.
  23. 50
    Leno's funny, but in the safest way. He's adheres to the center of the exact middle road, so it's wrong to expect a revolution here.
User Score

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 57 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 28
  2. Negative: 13 out of 28
  1. Apr 18, 2014
    He's just so unfunny. He is just so unbelievably unfunny. Why is he on television? This show gets a zero. Not a one...a zero. It has zero quality. Its is refuse. Full Review »
  2. Mar 28, 2014
    Don't invite Jay to a party, he obviously doesn't know when to pack it in and leave. Conan's helming of the Tonight Show never made it off shore due to Leno's abysmal lead-in... Full Review »
  3. Aug 16, 2010
    This was really awkward for me..especially being a Conan fan.. to watch this show. not my favourite comedian of all time but the show worked great. Got a free autograph out of it too Full Review »