Jay Leno's Tonight Finale Attracts His Biggest Friday Audience Ever

Categories: Late Night TV Ratings,Network TV Press Releases

Written By

June 4th, 2009

via press release:

JAY LENO'S 'TONIGHT' FINALE ATTRACTS HIS BIGGEST FRIDAY AUDIENCE EVER

WITH AN AVERAGE 11.9 MILLION VIEWERS, JAY'S FAREWELL TELECAST DELIVERS HIS #7 BIGGEST AUDIENCE FOR A REGULAR 'TONIGHT' ON ANY NIGHT OF THE WEEK

FOR THE MAY 25-29 WEEK, JAY GENERATES HIS BIGGEST 18-49 WEEKLONG AUDIENCE IN MORE THAN TWO YEARS

JIMMY FALLON AMASSES HIS BIGGEST OVERALL WEEKLY AUDIENCE TO DATE

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. ? June 4, 2009 ? Last Friday's final telecast of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" delivered the largest overall Friday audience during Jay's 17-year run as host of "Tonight." Those results led NBC to a dominant ratings win for the May 25-29 week that included the biggest weeklong 18-49 audience for Jay in more than two years and the biggest overall weekly audience yet for "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."

Jay's final show as host of "Tonight" generated a 3.4 rating, 14 share in adults 18-49 (2.6 million 18-49 viewers) and 11.9 million viewers overall. This marks Jay's best 18-49 rating for a Friday in 12 years (since January 10, 1997, 3.5) and best for any night of the week since Thursday, March 19, 2009 (3.8, with guest President Obama). In total viewers, it was the highest Friday ever for Jay and the top "Tonight" on any night of the week since President Obama's appearance on March 19.

Counting all nights of the week, it was the #7 regular telecast ever of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in total viewers, behind only the telecasts of Thursday, May 20, 1993, the night of the "Cheers" finale (22.4 million); Monday. May 25, 1992, the debut of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (16.1 million); Thursday, May 14, 1998, the night of the "Seinfeld" finale (15.0 million); Thursday, March 19, 2009, the night of the President Obama interview (14.6 million); Monday, January 24, 2005, the night of a special tribute to Johnny Carson (13.4 million); and Thursday, May 6, 2004, the night of the "Friends" finale (12.6 million). This list excludes "Tonight" specials that ran with short durations and irregular start times after nights of Olympic competition.

For the week, Jay's average 2.0 rating in 18-49 matches the week of the President Obama interview as "Tonight's" highest since the week of February 12-16, 2007, and the 18-49 viewer total of 2.6 million is the biggest for Jay since that same week ("live plus same day"). In total viewers, last week's average 7.0 million is the highest since the week of the President Obama interview, which averaged 7.2 million.

At 12:35 a.m. ET, Jimmy Fallon matched his highest weeklong 18-49 rating to date (a 0.9), delivered his biggest 18-49 audience (1.2 million) since his premiere week and set a new record for biggest weeklong overall audience (2.5 million).

At 1:35 a.m. ET, "Last Call with Carson Daly" delivered its biggest overall audience (1.3 million) since Conan O'Brien's last week hosting "Late Night," February 16-20.

For the week, Jay beat his season average in 18-49 by 43 percent (2.0 vs. 1.4) and his total-viewer average by 35 percent (7.0 million vs. 5.2 million).

Jay has increased his leads over Letterman this season versus last, establishing a 34 percent margin over Letterman in 18-49 viewers, up from a 25 percent lead at this point last season, and a 37 percent advantage in total viewers, up from last year's 30 percent. Jimmy Fallon leads Ferguson for their 13 weeks of competition by a 46 percent advantage in 18-49 viewers and 16 percent in total viewers. Both Jay and Jimmy have stretched their season leads among younger adults, with "Tonight" enjoying a 50 percent margin in 18-34 viewers season to date and "Late Night" out-delivering Ferguson so far by 74 percent.

Since his March 2 debut, Jimmy Fallon has finished #1 in the time period among the broadcast networks on 63 of 65 nights in adult 18-49 rating, including three ties.

For the week of May 25-29, Jay's average 2.609 million adults 18-49 topped the 908,000 of Letterman; in total viewers, Jay's audience of 6.976 million persons beat Letterman's 2.643 million; and in adults 18-34, Jay's 1.019 million out-scored Letterman's 312,000. At 12:35 a.m. ET, Jimmy Fallon's 1.236 million adults 18-49 for the week out-delivered Ferguson's 644,000; in total viewers, Jimmy's 2.468 million beat Ferguson's 1.629 million; and in adults 18-34, Jimmy's 567,000 topped Ferguson's 249,000.

WEEKLY AVERAGES
(According to in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research for the week of May 25-29. 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," 0.7/3 (with encore telecasts)*
ABC "Nightline," 0.7/3*

12:05 a.m. ET
ABC "Kimmel," 0.4/2 (with encore telecasts)*

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

1:35 a.m. ET
NBC "Last Call," 0.5/4*

TOTAL VIEWERS

11:35 p.m. ET
NBC "Tonight," 7.0 million viewers
CBS "Late Show," 2.6 million viewers (with encore telecasts)*
ABC "Nightline," 2.8 million viewers*

12:05 a.m. ET
ABC "Kimmel," 1.2 million viewers (with encore telecasts)*

12:35 a.m. ET
NBC "Late Night," 2.5 million viewers
CBS "Late Late Show," 1.6 million viewers (with encore telecasts)*

1:35 a.m. ET
NBC "Last Call," 1.3 million viewers*

* Monday's "Last Call" was an encore. Monday telecasts on ABC and CBS are excluded due to the Memorial Day holiday, and Thursday telecasts on ABC are excluded due to a primetime overrun. The Monday and Tuesday "Late Late Shows" were originals.

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," 0.8/5
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," 3.8 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," 2.1 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 MAY 25-29

NATIONAL ADULT 18-49 RATING

Comedy Central, 11 p.m. ET, "The Daily Show," 0.5
Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. ET, "The Colbert Report," 0.4

Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 0.7
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," 1.0 million
Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. ET, "The Colbert Report," 0.7 million

Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 1.7 million
Adult Swim, 12:30-1:30 a.m. ET, 1.0 million

 
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