President Obama Ignites NBC in Late Night

NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, featuring an interview with President Barack Obama, rose to a hefty 11.2 rating/26 share in the metered markets on Thursday, March 19, according to Nielsen Media Research data. 

Comparably, that was the veteran late night talker’s best overnight performance since Monday, Jan. 15, 2005 (11.2/26). The last time The Tonight Show scored a higher metered market rating was on Thursday, May 14, 1998 (12.4), the night of the Seinfeld series-finale.  

Overall, this was fourth strongest performance for The Tonight Show in the overnights since Jay Leno took over as host 16 years ago. And, versus the 3.9 season to-date rating average, this is an increase of a whopping 187 percent.  

Ignited by The Tonight Show, lead-out Late Night with Jimmy Fallon scored a series-high 3.9/13 in the overnights at 12:35 a.m.–105 percent above its series to-date average. Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35 a.m. also benefited, with a 1.8/ 7–its highest metered-market household rating since May 17, 2005.