President Obama's Appearance on "Tonight" Delivers Jay's Biggest Audience In Nearly 11 Years

Categories: Late Night TV Ratings,Network TV Press Releases

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March 26th, 2009

I know the headline numbers were all over the press a week ago, but this weekly NBC late night press release always has the most late night ratings data available to us. Enjoy!

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via NBCU press release:

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S GUEST APPEARANCE ON 'TONIGHT' DELIVERS 14.6 MILLION VIEWERS, JAY'S BIGGEST AUDIENCE IN NEARLY 11 YEARS, AND A 3.8 IN 18-49, JAY'S HIGHEST RATING IN MORE THAN FOUR YEARS 

THE FIRST LATE-NIGHT TALK SHOW APPEARANCE BY A SITTING U.S. PRESIDENT BOOSTS JAY TO HIS FOURTH BIGGEST AUDIENCE EVER 

JIMMY FALLON'S MARCH 19 TELECAST GRABS NBC'S LARGEST 'LATE NIGHT' AUDIENCE SINCE JANUARY 2005 

'Last Call WITH CARSON DALY' COLLECTS ITS TOP OVERALL VIEWERSHIP SINCE MAY 2007 

FOR THE WEEK OF MARCH 16-20, JAY GENERATES HIS HIGHEST 18-49 AVERAGE IN TWO YEARS AND BIGGEST WEEKLY AUDIENCE IN FOUR YEARS 

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – March 26, 2009 – The Thursday, March 19 appearance by President Barack Obama on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" delivered a 3.8 rating, 15 share in adults 18-49 and 14.6 million viewers overall, making it the biggest overall audience for "Tonight" in nearly 11 years, since May 14, 1998, the night of the "Seinfeld" finale. In adults 18-49, this is the top-rated "Tonight" since January 24, 2005, the night of a special tribute to Johnny Carson. 

Thursday night also featured NBC's biggest "Late Night" audience since January 24, 2005, as "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" delivered 3.8 million viewers, as well as the biggest audience for "Last Call with Carson Daly" (1.8 million) since May 4, 2007. 

In total viewers, the March 19 telecast, was the fourth biggest audience ever for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," behind only the telecasts of May 20, 1993, the night of the "Cheers" finale; May 25, 1992, the debut of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno;" and May 14, 1998, the night of the "Seinfeld" finale. 

Last Thursday's telecast improved on Jay's season averages going into the week (1.4 rating in adults 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) by 171 percent in 18-49 and 189 percent in total viewers. President Obama's appearance was the first for a sitting President on a late-night talk show. Also appearing on the March 19 telecast was music superstar Garth Brooks. 

"Tonight" was the #1 program Thursday night in total viewers, with its average 14.634 million beating all primetime programming on all networks, including ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" (14.606 million), Fox's "Bones" (10.517 million) and CBS's coverage of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament (9.638 million from 8-11 p.m.). 

For the week of March 16-20, Jay scored his highest 18-49 rating (2.0) since the week of February 12-16, 2007, and his biggest weekly overall viewership (7.2 million persons) since the week of January 24-28, 2005. 

Season-to date, Jay is stretching his leads over CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" this season versus last, establishing a 27 percent margin over Letterman in adults 18-49, up from a 23 percent margin at this point last season, and a 32 percent advantage in total viewers, up from last year's 26 percent. 

For his three weeks on the air to date, Jimmy Fallon is winning the time period over CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in every key ratings category. Fallon's margins over Ferguson for those three weeks are 66 percent in 18-49, 28 percent in total viewers and 129 percent in adults 18-34. 

For the season to date, Jay's average 1.840 million adults 18-49 is topping the 1.446 million of Letterman; in total viewers, Jay's audience of 5.154 million persons is beating Letterman's 3.895 million; and in adults 18-34, Jay's 743,000 is out-scoring Letterman's 504,000. At 12:35 a.m. ET, for the three weeks since the debut of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," Jimmy's 1.212 million adult 18-49 viewers is out-delivering Ferguson's 728,000; in total viewers, Jimmy's 2.345 million is beating Ferguson's 1.825 million; and in adults 18-34, Jimmy's 569,000 is topping Ferguson's 248,000. 

WEEKLY AVERAGES 
(According to in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research for the week of March 16-20. Ratings reflect "live plus same day" data unless otherwise noted. Season-to-date figures are averages of "live plus seven day" data except for the two most recent weeks, which are "live plus same day.") 

ADULTS 18-49 

11:35 p.m. ET 
NBC "Tonight," 2.0 rating, 8 share 
CBS "Late Show," 1.0/4* 
ABC "Nightline," 1.1/4 

12:05 a.m. ET 
ABC "Kimmel," 0.6/3* 

12:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Late Night," 0.9/5 
CBS "Late Late Show," 0.5/3* 

1:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Last Call," 0.5/3* 

TOTAL VIEWERS 

11:35 p.m. ET 
NBC "Tonight," 7.2 million viewers 
CBS "Late Show," 3.7 million viewers* 
ABC "Nightline," 3.9 million viewers 

12:05 a.m. ET 
ABC "Kimmel," 1.7 million viewers* 

12:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Late Night," 2.4 million viewers 
CBS "Late Late Show," 1.8 million viewers* 

1:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Last Call," 1.2 million viewers* 

* Monday's "Last Call" and "Kimmel" were encores. Letterman and Ferguson on Thursday and Friday, which were encores and delayed by basketball, are excluded from these averages. 

SEASON TO DATE 

ADULTS 18-49 

11:35 p.m. ET 
NBC "Tonight," 1.4/6 
CBS "Late Show," 1.1/4 
ABC "Nightline," 1.1/4 

12:05 a.m. ET 
ABC "Kimmel," 0.6/3 

12:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," 0.9/5 
CBS "Late Late Show," 0.6/3 

1:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Last Call," 0.5/3 

TOTAL VIEWERS 

11:35 p.m. ET 
NBC "Tonight," 5.2 million viewers 
CBS "Late Show," 3.9 million viewers 
ABC "Nightline," 3.9 million viewers 

12:05 a.m. ET 
ABC "Kimmel," 1.7 million viewers 

12:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," 2.3 million viewers 
CBS "Late Late Show," 1.9 million viewers 

1:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Last Call," 1.2 million viewers 

SELECTED CABLE RESULTS, WEEK OF MARCH 16-20 

NATIONAL ADULT 18-49 RATING 

Comedy Central, 11 p.m. ET, "The Daily Show," 0.8 
Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. ET, "The Colbert Report," 0.6 

Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 0.8 
Adult Swim, 12:30-1:30 a.m. ET, 0.4 

Each adult 18-49 rating point equals 1.32 million viewers 

TOTAL VIEWERS 

Comedy Central, 11 p.m. ET, "The Daily Show," 1.9 million 
Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. ET, "The Colbert Report," 1.3 million 

Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 1.7 million 
Adult Swim, 12:30-1:30 a.m. ET, 0.9 million

 
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