Editor’s note: I will say watching last night’s final episode of “The Tonight Show” gave me much more respect for Jay Leno than I have had before. In his last few minutes, I think we got more emotion and personality out of Jay than in his entire 22-year career prior. NBC has released the following press release:
JAY LENO WRAPS HIS “TONIGHT SHOW” RUN WITH THE HIGHEST METERED-MARKET HOUSEHOLD RATING FOR THE SHOW SINCE 2009
It’s the Top ‘Tonight’ Since President Obama Made His Historic Visit on March 19, 2009
Jimmy Fallon Follows with His Best Overnights Ever
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – Feb. 7, 2014 – Jay Leno last night concluded his run as host of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” by delivering the show’s highest overnight rating in nearly five years, since March 2009.
Leno averaged a 9.2 rating, 22 share in households in the 56 markets metered by Nielsen Media Research (with the Philadelphia market excluded last night), best since March 19, 2009, the night President Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. President to appear on a late-night talk show (11.3/26).
The final “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” more than tripled the show’s season average in metered-market households, 2.8/7 heading into this week.
“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” followed last night with its highest rating ever, a 4.6/15 in metered-market households. That tops the prior record of a 4.2/12 with a special 11:56 p.m. ET telecast on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012. The prior high for a weeknight “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” was a 3.9/13 on March 19, 2009, the night of President Obama’s appearance on “Tonight.” The 4.6 is also the highest for the “Late Night” franchise since “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” earned a 4.6/20 on Thursday, May 14, 1998, the night of the “Seinfeld” finale.
Fallon tripled the show’s 1.5 season average in metered-market households heading into this week.
Guests on “Tonight” Thursday included Billy Crystal and Garth Brooks, with appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Jack Black, Carol Burnett, Sheryl Crow, Jim Parsons, Kim Kardashian and Chris Paul. Appearing in taped messages were Jimmy Fallon, Bob Costas, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Sheen and President Barack Obama.
The Feb. 6 edition of “Late Night” featured Colin Farrell, Chris Pratt and musical guest 2 Chainz.
Fast-official national ratings for “Tonight” and “Late Night” are expected later today.
Detailed results in metered-market households from Nielsen’s 56 metered markets (excluding Philadelphia), were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 9.2/22; CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman,” 1.9/5; and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” 1.9/5.
In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 results were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 3.4/15; “Late Show,” 0.5/2; and “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” 0.8/3.
From 12:35-1:05 a.m. ET, ABC’s “Nightline” averaged a 1.4/4 in metered-market households and a 0.5/3 in 18-49 in the Local People Meters.
From 12:35-1:35 a.m. ET, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” (4.6/15 in metered-market households) beat CBS’s “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” (1.1/4). In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, “Late Night” (1.9/12 in 18-49) topped “Late Late Show” (0.5/3).
In national averages heading into this week, Leno has been delivering his highest 18-49 viewership at this point in a TV season in three years and the biggest season in total viewers for “Tonight” in five years. At 12:35 a.m. ET, Fallon is at a four-year high at this point in the season in viewers 18-49, while in total viewers, Fallon is delivering his top average at 19 weeks into the season in the five years he’s been hosting “Late Night.”
Versus the first 19 weeks of the year-ago season, Leno is up 10% in 18-49 viewers (with 1.158 million vs. 1.057 million) and up 11% in total viewers (3.948 million vs. 3.570 million). Fallon is up 20% in 18-49 viewers (815,000 vs. 682,000) so far this season and up 17% in total viewers (2.012 million vs. 1.719 million).
“Last Call with Carson Daly” is also delivering sizable gains versus the first 19 weeks of last season, up 19% in 18-49 viewers (436,000 vs. 365,000) and up 11% in total viewers (975,000 vs. 877,000).