TV Ratings: ‘The Tonight Show’ Soars with President Obama Appearance

President Obama’s visit to “The Tonight Show” boosted Jimmy Fallon to his highest Thursday ratings in more than two years.

“Tonight Show” grabbed a 3.6 household rating/9 share in Nielsen’s 55 overnight metered markets, which cover about 70% of U.S. TV households. That was the show’s best overnight number for a Thursday episode since Feb. 20, 2014, which featured an appearance by first lady Michelle Obama.

In what might indicate the bipartisan nature of Fallon’s audience, the 3.6 rating matched the overnight rating delivered last Sept. 11 when Donald Trump guested. Aside from the Trump tie, it’s the highest overnight rating for a regularly scheduled “Tonight Show” episode since March 17, 2014, which yielded a 3.7 behind airings of “The Voice” and “The Blacklist.”

In adults 18-49, Thursday’s “Tonight” posted a 1.3/7 in 25 overnight markets, its best showing since the night of “Wiz Live!” airing on Dec. 3. Thursday’s episode also featured a guest shot and musical performance by Madonna.

The highlight of President Obama’s first appearance on Fallon’s “Tonight Show” was his “Slow Jam the News” segment — a reprise of a bit he did with Fallon in 2012 on the latter’s previous NBC series, “Late Night.”

Obama, who endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Thursday, named the presidential hopeful in his jam, before taking a jab at her opponent Donald Trump.

“Since you’re here, I gotta ask, have you been watching all the election coverage this week about Donald Trump?” Fallon asked.

“No, but I have been watching my new favorite show: ‘Orange Is Not the New Black,'” Obama said.

Here’s the clip:

Elsewhere on Thursday night, NBC’s coverage of Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals gave the Peacock a demo win, with the game earning a 1.4 in the adults 18-49 demographic. The game was bested by CBS in total viewers thanks to a repeat of “The Big Bang Theory,” which scored 6.6 million viewers versus the game’s 4.6 million. The comedy repeat scored a 1.2 in the demo.

On a quiet Thursday that mostly consisted of reruns, the finale of Fox’s “American Grit” earned a 0.7 demo score and 2.2 million viewers. The night’s only other original broadcast, The CW’s “Beauty and the Beast” was even with last week’s premiere rating of 0.2, drawing 0.8 million viewers.

NBC won the night in the demo with a score of 1.4 and an average of 4.6 million viewers, but CBS pulled past in total viewers, nabbing 4.8 million and a 0.9 in the adults 18-49 demo. ABC was third, notching an 0.8 rating and 3.2 million viewers, with Fox drawing 0.7 in the demo and 2.2 million viewers. CW brought up the rear with a 0.2 score and 0.8 million viewers for the night.

More TV

  • 60 Minutes" reporter Lara Logan takes

    Lara Logan Says She's Been 'Targeted' for Her Claims of Liberal Media Bias

    Former CBS News foreign correspondent Lara Logan appeared on “Hannity” Wednesday evening to expand on her recent remarks characterizing the media as “mostly liberal.” “It’s obvious, right, because you get targeted,” she said, explaining her earlier comments that she was committing “professional suicide” by criticizing the media. “It’s the same group of people, they’re already [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    'Empire' Producers Consider Suspending Jussie Smollett (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fox is considering removing Jussie Smollett from production on “Empire.” Sources close to the production told Variety that producers are weighing whether to suspend the actor after he was charged Wednesday in Chicago with filing a false police report. A spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Television, which produces the series, declined to comment. Smollett’s status on [...]

  • Game of Thrones Final Season: Best

    The Best 'Game of Thrones' Merch to Get You Ready for the New Season

    We’re just weeks away from the premiere of the final season of “Game of Thrones,” and whether you’re a die-hard fan, on the hunt for a novelty gift, or a serious collector hoping to nab some memorabilia before the series signs off for good, we’ve found 10 pieces of merch that pay tribute to one [...]

  • Ryan KadroPaleyLive NY: The News Is

    Ryan Kadro Will Join Quibi to Oversee News Programming (EXCLUSIVE)

    Ryan Kadro left CBS News several weeks ago, but he isn’t leaving the news business. Kadro, the former executive producer of “CBS This Morning” is set to join Quibi, the company led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman that is devoted to short-form  content. Kadro is expected to oversee news programming for the subscription-based service, [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Charged With Filing False Police Report

    “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has been charged with filing a false police report, the Chicago police said Wednesday. “Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter. Smollett is due to appear in court for a bond hearing at 1:30 p.m. [...]

  • Coast Guard Lieutenant Hit List

    Coast Guard Lieutenant Targeted CNN, MSNBC Anchors and Democrats for Attacks

    Anchors at CNN and MSNBC and prominent Democrats were targeted for attack by a Coast Guard lieutenant arrested Friday on a firearms charge, according to federal prosecutors in Maryland. In court documents revealed Tuesday, prosecutors describe the firearms and controlled substance charges Christopher Paul Hasson is facing as “the proverbial tip of the iceberg.” CNN’s [...]

  • TV News Roundup: HBO Releases 'The

    TV News Roundup: HBO Drops Trailer for 'The Case Against Adnan Syed' (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, HBO released the first official trailer for its upcoming docu-series “The Case Against Adnan Syed,” and Freeform announced three new cast members for its upcoming comedy series “Besties,” starring Jordin Sparks. DATES Netflix’s upcoming docu-series “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” is set to premiere March 8 on the streaming platform. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content