Dave’s hearty win

Best aud numbers in five years topple Leno

NEW YORK — Boosted by David Letterman’s part-time return to latenight, “The Late Show” won last week with its best rating in five years and the largest margin of victory over “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” since 1995.

According to Nielsen data for the week of Feb. 21-25, “The Late Show With David Letterman” beat “Leno” by 23% in households (5.4/16 vs. 4.4/13), 22% in both viewers (7.13 million vs. 5.86 million) and adults 25-54 (3.3/15 vs. 2.7/12) and 20% in adults 18-49 (3.0/14 vs. 2.5/12). “Late Show” was up 74% in households and 85% in viewers compared with the same week last year, while “Leno” was down 4% in households and 3% in viewers.

Ayem race

Meanwhile, in the week’s early morning Nielsens, ABC News’ “Good Morning America” posted its highest ratings in more than two years last week — thanks in part to an interview with “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire” bride Darva Conger — while rivals “Today” and “Early Show” were both down.

With an average audience of 5 million, “GMA” cut the “Today” lead from 34% to 20% among total viewers, compared with the previous week, according to Nielsen data for the week of Feb. 21-25. “Today” is watched by an average of 6.1 million viewers, while “Early Show” attracts 2.5 million. The change represents the closest margin between the “GMA” and “Today” since early December 1996.

In household ratings, “GMA” was up a whopping 26% from last year during the same period (4.4/17 from 3.5/14). But NBC’s “Today” remained the most watched ayem news show, averaging a 5.2/20 (down 2% from a year ago). Meanwhile, CBS’ “Early Show” was down 15% (2.2/8 from 2.6/10) from last year when “This Morning” was still on the air.

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