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Was Jay Leno Really a Disaster? (Well, Sure, for Conan…)

Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien Paul Drinkwater/ NBC

Just how much of a fail was The Jay Leno Show anyway? When is poor Conan O'Brien going to catch a break? And why should Jared from Subway run NBC? 

The answers—and more questions about Fringe, Big Love and more—in the latest TV ratings quiz:

1. True or false: The Jay Leno Show was a bomb. Jay Leno answered this one with a joke in Monday's monologue: "I left NBC prime time the same way I found it: a complete disaster." True enough, last night's show scored a bigger audience (4.8 million) than what aired on the same night and time a year ago. (Remember Momma's Boys? Of course not.) And while Leno on the whole did drive away prized young adults, he didn't do anything that wasn't expected. He was supposed to be cheap and steady, and he was. The epic fail is on NBC for cooking up the idea in the first place.

2. What's the upside for Conan O'Brien? One, he probably won't have NBC kicking him around much longer. Two, ever since NBC let on it was pulling the plug on Leno at 10 p.m., he's been kicking around David Letterman in the overnights.

3. What do a bunch of sandwich-makers know that NBC doesn't? What people want to watch. If it weren't for Subway, Chuck wouldn't have been renewed, Sunday's two-hour season opener wouldn't have been a Top 40 hit (7.5 million viewers), and last night's time-slot premiere wouldn't have scored the show's best numbers (estimated 7.3 million) since its 2009 Super Bowl outing.

4. Why is Fringe not looking forward to the return of Jack Bauer? Because last night the Fox series got to pair up with its old tag-team partner, House, en route to putting up numbers (7.8 million viewers) like it used to last season. Come next week, though,  24 will be on Mondays and Fringe will be back on Thursdays.

5. Do time slots really matter that much? If you don't want to ask Fringe, then try ABC's Ugly Betty, which flopped on Friday and hit a season high (5 million) in its Wednesday debut.   

6. How big was Big Love's season premiere? Not to overuse the word, but big. Sunday's opener (1.7 million viewers) was up nearly 50 percent over the season-three starter, HBO said.

7. What's the forecast for awards season? If the People's Choice Awards is any indication, pretty balmy. Last week's CBS telecast was the most-watched People's Choice Awards in three years, with 10.8 million viewers. The show ranked 18th in the just-released broadcast standings.

8. If the answer isn't Jersey Shore, what was the week's hottest cable show? ABC Family's Secret Life of the American Teenager (4.5 million) was the No. 1 prime-time series, by a lot. Other standouts: new episodes of Disney's Hannah Montana (4 million) and Suite Life on Deck (3.9 million), E!'s Keeping Up With the Kardashians (3.6 million) and, right up there, MTV's Jersey Shore (3.3 million).

9. Say, watch much football last week? Yup. Saturday night's NFL playoff game on NBC and Thursday's college championship matchup on ABC both averaged more than 30 million viewers. The only scripted show to top 20 million was CBS' NCIS.

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Wonder what Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien think of NBC? Watch and find out.

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