Unsurprisingly, Jay Leno’s farewell last night got some attention, delivering an 8.8/20 (household rating/share) which was more than double The Tonight Show’s second quarter average.
Here’s a clip of the show’s closing moments, with the press release on the overnight ratings from NBC below:
JAY LENO DELIVERS HIS HIGHEST FRIDAY OVERNIGHTS EVER
ON HIS FAREWELL ‘TONIGHT’ TELECAST, JAY SOARS 126 PERCENT ABOVE THE SHOW’S SECOND-QUARTER AVERAGE IN THE METERED MARKETS
JIMMY FALLON SCORES HIS SECOND-HIGHEST OVERNIGHTS EVER
CARSON DALY EARNS HIS BEST FRIDAY METERED-MARKET RATING IN MORE THAN TWO YEARS
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – May 30, 2009 – Last night’s final telecast of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” delivered the show’s highest metered-market household rating for a Friday edition in Jay Leno’s 17-year run as host of “Tonight,” according to in-home viewing figures from the 56 local markets metered by Nielsen Media Research.
The May 29 “Tonight” telecast averaged an 8.8 rating, 20 share in metered-market households, easily doubling the “Tonight” second-quarter average in the local markets metered by Nielsen. The increase is 126 percent over Jay’s 3.9 average for the second quarter to date.
It’s the best “Tonight” overnight rating for any night of the week since Thursday, March 19, when President Obama was Jay’s guest. Excluding that March telecast, it’s the highest “Tonight” on any night of the week in more than four years, since a special tribute to Johnny Carson on Monday, Jan. 24, 2005.
Last night’s telecast featured appearances by Conan O’Brien and James Taylor. Conan debuts as the new host of “The Tonight Show” this Monday, June 1.
The final week of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” averaged a 5.5 rating in metered-market households, a 41 percent increase on the show’s 3.9 second-quarter average. Each night represented a progressively bigger increase on Jay’s second-quarter average for that night, with Monday generating a 3 percent gain (4.1 vs. 4.0), Tuesday up by 18 percent (4.6 vs. 3.9), Wednesday up by 23 percent (4.9 vs. 4.0), Thursday up by 37 percent (5.2 vs. 3.8) and Friday up by 126 percent (8.8 vs. 3.9).
At 12:35 a.m. ET last night, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” (3.8/12) delivered its second-highest metered-market rating ever, behind only the March 19 telecast that followed the President Obama appearance on “Tonight.” Jimmy generated a 124 percent increase over the show’s 1.7/6 average for the quarter to date.
At 1:35 a.m. ET, “Last Call with Carson Daly” (1.6/6) scored its best metered-market rating since March 19 and best for a Friday in more than two years (since January 12, 2007).
Other late-night averages in the 56 markets metered by Nielsen last night were: ABC’s “Nightline,” 2.4/5; CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman,” 1.9/4, encore; ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” 1.1/3, encore; CBS’s “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” 1.4/4, encore.
Jay took over as host of “Tonight” on May 25, 1992 and has been the dominant force in the time period for the last 14 seasons in a row. Jay moves to the 10 p.m. ET slot in September as host of the new Monday-through-Friday comedy series “The Jay Leno Show.”
National ratings for last night’s “Tonight,” including demographics and viewer totals, are due from Nielsen on Thursday, June 4.