NBC’s Leno Goes Out With a Bang

The final original telecast of Jay Leno as host of NBC’s The Tonight Show rose to an 8.8 rating/20 share in the metered markets on Friday, May 29. Comparably, that was the best overnight results for a Friday ever during Leno’s 17-year run on The Tonight Show. And it outdelivered the current second quarter overnight average (3.9) by a whopping 126 percent. 

Excluding President Obama’s recent appearance on March 19, this was the highest rated single telecast of The Tonight Show since a special tribute to Johnny Carson on Monday, Jan. 24, 2005. Overall, Leno’s final week on The Tonight Show averaged a 5.5 rating in the overnights—41 percent above the second quarter average.

Airing out of The Tonight Show, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon scored a hefty 3.8/12 in the overnights at 12:35 a.m.—its second highest rated performance ever. And Last Call With Carson Daly (1.6/ 6 at 1:35 a.m.) had its best performance for a Friday since Jan. 12, 2007.