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Jay Leno Is #1!

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…in product placement!

From the get-go, The Jay Leno Show has been a business strategy first, an entertainment program second. And while its business success is debatable—it’s certainly cut costs for NBC, but often pulls no more viewers than Jay got at 11:30—Nielsen has released an interesting year-end list that finds the show has succeeded at one of its aims: becoming an attractive venue for in-show ads.*

With over 1,000 product placement instances since it launched, The Jay Leno Show has by far the most product placements of any primetime show in 2009. (Of course it helps that it’s on daily. Then again, it’s only been on three months.) After the jump: TV’s top 10 product-placers:

1. The Jay Leno Show (1015 placements)

2. WWE Monday Night Raw (787)

3. The Biggest Loser (704)

4. American Idol (553)

5. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (483)

6. The Celebrity Apprentice (428)

7. Top Chef: Las Vegas (412)

8. America’s Next Top Model (380)

9. Project Runway (350)

10. Dancing With the Stars (331)

*[Update: The numerous product references in the clip video above, compiled from one September show, are not necessarily paid placements, but it’s all pretty staggering nonetheless. Update 2: Likewise, the Nielsen figures—for Leno and for the other shows—do not distinguish between paid plugs, like Leno’s for Ford and McDonald’s, and unpaid ones. So there may be yet more room for NBC to monetize the brand-dropping.]