Carson tribute lifts Leno

Auds tune in to say bye to Johnny

NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” grabbed a big audience Monday for the show’s first telecast since the death of former host Johnny Carson.

Show, which featured Leno’s tribute to Carson and guests including Ed McMahon, Bob Newhart and Don Rickles, averaged an 11.2 rating/26 share in Nielsen’s metered-market overnight households.

Rating reps the fourth-best delivery to date for Leno on “Tonight,” behind only the night of the “Cheers” finale in 1993, the night of Leno’s debut as host in 1992 and the night of the “Seinfeld” finale in 1998.

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