Leno Triumphant In Final Fall Return for NBC

Tonight Show With Jay Leno

Leno, Fallon Carry NBC to Late-Night Dominance in Premiere Week; both hosts off to best ratings start since 2010

NBC has carried its primetime momentum over to latenight, as Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon opened the season with dominant performances in their timeslots and their best premiere-week scores in three years.

According to Nielsen, “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” averaged 1.21 million adults 18-49 for the week of Sept. 23-27, up 29% from last year and well ahead of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (863,000) and CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman” (792,000).

Kimmel was up 38% from last year when he aired at a later time, while Letterman was down 8%.

In total viewers, “Tonight Show” drew 3.68 million (up 12% from last year), followed by “Late Show” (3.14 million, up 5%) and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (2.43 million, up 36%).

Leno’s guests included Justin Timberlake, Dana Carvey and Sandra Bullock. Kimmel booked Paul McCartney, Jon Hamm and Rebel Wilson, among others, while Letterman’s guests included Bill Clinton, Cher and Bono.

Letterman continues to skew older, logging a median age of 58.9 during premiere week. Leno’s median age was 56.5, and Kimmel’s was 54.1.

in the 12:35 a.m. timeslot, “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” soared 29% year to year to 764,000 adults 18-49 — easily topping ABC’s “Nightline” (516,000 for its half-hour, down 50% from its earlier timeslot a year ago) and “Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson” (470,000, down 3% from last year).

NBC’s latenight shows were aided by the network’s good performance in primetime during premiere week, which it won in adults 18-49 and 25-54 by healthy margins.

Led by dramas “The Blacklist,” “Chicago Fire” and “Law & Order: SVU,” the Peacock’s 2.3 average rating in adults 18-49 in the 10:30 p.m. half-hour on weekdays put it ahead of ABC and CBS (both at 1.9). It similarly held the edge in adults 25-54 (3.0), followed by CBS (2.6) and ABC (2.3).

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  1. Jason says:

    If you want to see what Letterman, Kimmel or Conan joked on Monday, watch Leno the following Friday.

  2. Yirmin says:

    Primetime lead in doesn’t really factor in that much. The 30 minute break for local news pretty much tempers the prime time. Leno is getting some bump for his swan song, but mat of it is just plain disgust win Letterman that seems to have more love for Obama than Michelle has for him.

  3. Night Owl says:

    Leno rocks. He’s scores with material the other flat chat phonies are intimidated to handle in their tremble of Glorious Dear Leader. Prepare for a ratings slaughter next fall when Leno returns, like a Michael Corleone, to settle all business with the other network families.

  4. Ray King says:

    when Leno leaves NBC, so do we.

  5. Rick A Roo says:

    In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny – What a maroon – NBC is that is.Probably need to put on a comic more in line with democrats so they’ll continue to buy broken wind turbines.

  6. Me says:

    Wonder if they’ll miss him when he’s gone in February?

  7. buddyo says:

    If Fallon is the “future” then the future is childish and boring. But then look at 95% of TV and movies if you want childish and boring.

  8. orenthal says:

    Clinton, cher, and bono? Three bozos with fake names.

  9. fred says:

    Someone else will pickup Leno. He’s to good to dump and go away.

  10. Bruce Walden says:

    they could put a cardboard cut out of Johnny Carson in there and he’d be funnier than both put together, and twice as intelligent.

  11. Keep jay Leno on. I dont care what his political connections are he’s all Americans late night King

  12. I a black man just enjoy jay Leno more than anything or tv shows on tv the dummist thing NBC could do to loose viewers is loose jay Leno. The other host Dave Jimmy and Jimmy are Just plane boreing and small dumb

  13. jimmieM says:

    Leno will pick on both sides and to the liberal that is not playing fair to keep his job he need to lick the bottoms of liberals and be rude and condescending to conservatives…Fallon be fair and lick the right bottoms

  14. johnny says:

    People on here say they love Leno and hate libs………..Contradict much?

  15. johnny says:

    Leno is leaving because fallon is the future. If they don’t lock him up, he will leave. Simple as that. LOL. Has nothing to do with liberalism.

  16. Slick Willie, Cher-ade, and Bono. Geeze, I missed this must-pee-TV.

  17. William Jones says:

    Fallon is not funny and he will be a poor replacement for Jay Leno. The crappy ghetto band with Fallon is also no comparison to the tonight show band. What is wrong with nbc?

    • johnny says:

      Ghetto band? What’s Ghetto about them? You racist dbag. They are musical geniuses. They can play ANYTHING. Rock, country, alternative, hip hop and they do it well.

  18. Bill McDonald says:

    What’s happened to Leno here is a microcosm of what’s happened to America. We’ve drifted away from rewarding results to concentrate on spinning mediocrity. We dump the #1 guy, while the lesser competition smears him. My book “Punchline Blues” is the only thing I’ve seen that defends Leno and calls out Howard and Kimmel for the BS artists they really are. Firing someone for being #1 is like a headfirst plunge into a big vat of stupid.

    • johnny says:

      If they don’t give Fallon (the future) a contract now, they will lose him. Its simple business. Leno had his time. I think Leno is great and has a few years left in him, but NBC has to make a business move. Thats the way the world works. It has nothing to do with rewarding mediocracy…That being said, I do agree about the state of the country.

  19. shiv says:

    Duck Dynasty 10 Million viewers ! for repetes !

  20. Adrian Vance says:

    Jay Leno helped me set the valves on my VW bus one day when we were both living in Nichols Canyon in the Hollywood Hills. This was before he had a TV show. He was curious about anything to do with cars.

    Google “Two Minute Conservative,” http://adrianvance.blogspot.com When you speak ladies will swoon and liberal gentlemen will weep.

  21. Unless Leno goes to the same time slot at Fox, his departure from that time slot will be a great boon to Kimmel. (and less work for my DVR!)

  22. atilla thehun says:

    It’s class vs. crass. Jay has the class.

  23. bob wire says:

    Schaffer is a fraud—the night Dave spoke of his sexually harassing employees on the job and which occurred for years—Paul announced the release of his new book–all about his years with Dave on the Show. Funny thing, all that time together and not a word nor mention of the harassing or stalking by Dave, in the book. Thanks for covering for a Perverted Employer there Paul…guy like him gets the innocent hurt in this world. Fraud. Dont fall for the “cute Canadian” routine, that savant knows exactly what he’s doing.

  24. It’s pretty funny that Letterman is getting destroyed by Leno. What makes it even funnier is that this kind of stuff really bothers him. He’s not even in 2nd place. He’s in 3rd! LOL! The liberal propaganda market is so saturated and Dave’s got the short end.

    If any television network decided to do conservative jokes, they’d easily get 2 million viewers. Easily. A comedy show on Comedy Central that did nothing but make Obama jokes would be a hit, too. Of course, they’d never do that because of their political ideology

  25. bob wire says:

    Its in the numbers—head to head, Leno to Letterman?—Jay is winning by nearly 2 fold…my goodness, when will the Left Loons get the message…Clinton, Cher and Bono?—you got what you deserved there Dave…surprised you and Bill didnt chase interns around the Ed Sullivan Theartre and then to your private loft…They’re sick, and frankly America’s sick of it.

  26. FearsomeWolf says:

    Jay is a class act and deserves better. I still have high hopes for Craig Ferguson, who is genuinely funny, but he seems to rely on that robot too much.

  27. tymwltl says:

    Leno will go to Fox and dominate the late night net works. Just a hunch.

  28. Harold3H says:

    I think it shows America has pretty good taste.

  29. Ronnie says:

    I cannot believe a network can be as stupid as NBC. It was bad enough to do it once but to do it over again….beyond insanity. I will be done with NBC when Leno goes and will hopefully see him on another network that can appreciate a good thing when they have it.

  30. Fallon is a Fallacy he sucks! He's a Hard Left Lunatic Obama Sycophant... says:

    Leno has made money and can quit. But he should do his own show on tv or the Net.

  31. maroon says:

    Letterman invites Clinton… so old hippies and perverts will tune in.

  32. Justin Sage says:

    Senior citizens are certainly living longer with time on their hands.

  33. John Skorat says:

    At least I ‘ve been alive to see Johnny Carson. Leno was so insecure that he wouldn’t even let Johnny Winters on the show hardly. These current hosts are ok, but not anywhere near Carson’s ability.

  34. Eric R.ewell says:

    The suits at NBC will need to sharpen their swords because when Leno’s replacement tanks,the swords will go in much easier when they have to fall on them.

  35. mtnbiker says:

    LENO is the best on late night……not even close……hopefully FOX will pick him up….

  36. TahoeGuy says:

    Fallon sucks. NBC screwed the pooch there.

    • Judi Cross says:

      I don’t understand why they would willingly give up their number 1 slot – TWICE. If I was a shareholder, I would be angry and want answers. I actually love Jimmy Fallon, but his humor probably won’t translate well to Leno ‘s slot

    • SebastianWoof says:

      So nice to see Letterman in last place.
      He always has his head up the Donkey’s arse
      at the White House anyway

  37. jgdp says:

    WTF is a letraman???

  38. Peggy Martinez says:

    NBC needs to KEEP Jay Leno! He is a gentleman who is always funny and respectful to his guests, unlike the very partisan, angry and BITTER David Letterman……

  39. I think that Leno should be given a couple of more years. But, I am looking forward to seeing how JF is as the tonight show host.

  40. mark says:

    NBC is going to regret letting Leno go when Fallon fails. This has to be one of the stupidest moves in tv history. I like Craig Ferguson but he needs to change it up a bit. It’s the same show every night.

  41. Jonboy says:

    Jay has never been funnier since he took off the Kid Gloves with which his handlers made him handle President Obama. A comedian that will not mine that comedy rich environment is a hand-cuffed prisoner. Leno could get a job on a FOX Network and triple his nightly viewing.

  42. Jay needs to be signed up for a multi-year contract by Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes—who is president of the Fox News Channel, and chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group—for “The Jay Leno” show on Fox. NBC does not own the Burbank studio in which his present show is filmed, so presumably he could continue to use it, with Fox paying for it.

    This seems like a “no brainer.” No one on late-night TV can touch Jay. He has a loyal audience, which will stay with him.

  43. Rico says:

    Hopefully, Leno will be back on another network soon.

  44. When Howard Stern guested recently on Jimmy Fallon, he warned the successor that if he doesn’t do a long, opening monologue full of “lame” jokes, he will fail. That is where I have the hardest time imagining Fallon – not interviewing, not sketching, but doing that long TONIGHT SHOW opening monologue.

  45. Gayle says:

    Letterman is just a spoke person for the Democratic party. People watch these programs to be entertained. Thus his declining numbers.

  46. Letterman’s bitter anti-republican politics has cost him a significant loss in viewership. I cannot watch him – should have kept his thoughts to himself.

  47. This is all about punishing Leno for his right-wing slant of criticizing Obama.

  48. justnc says:

    Leno always does well, yet they keep trying to replace him.

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