Jay Leno's 'Tonight Show' Returns To First Place

Joined Jan 25, 2008
Jay beats 'Late Show With David Letterman' in his first week back, but the gap narrows in the second week.

According to The Associated Press, Leno averaged 5.6 million viewers in his first week back as the host of NBC's "The Tonight Show," easily outmatching the 3.66 million that tuned in for CBS' "The Late Show With David Letterman." Letterman, who consistently beat O'Brien in ratings throughout the recently departed host's run on "The Tonight Show," famously finished in second place next to Leno before he vacated the talk-show chair for his failed prime-time experiment, "The Jay Leno Show."

Additionally, Leno's return to late night proved beneficial to "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon." Entertainment Weekly reports that the "Saturday Night Live" castmember-turned-host beat out CBS' "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" by a margin of 147,000 viewers.

While Leno's first week marked a decisive win for NBC over CBS, his second week back wasn't quite as victorious. From Monday through Thursday of this week, Leno averaged 4.3 million viewers against Letterman's 4 million, depicting a much closer race between the late-night hosts than Leno's first week back behind the desk seemed to indicate.

Leno returned to "The Tonight Show" last week following a widely publicized dispute between NBC and Conan O'Brien. In his first show following his return to the 11:35 p.m. time slot, Leno joked that he would hold on to the "Tonight Show" hosting gig "at least for a while."

Since his departure from "The Tonight Show," O'Brien — who is contractually prohibited from making television appearances until September 2010 — has kept his presence intact by joining Twitter and announcing a national comedy tour that will take place from April 12 through June.

big j 33

Joined May 31, 2006
It's actually not that good of news for Jay.

First week numbers should be bigger, but he was only beating Letterman by 300,000 in the 2nd week, and considering before Leno left he was beating Letterman by 1.5 million, that's not a good sign.

Give him a month and let's see where he's at against Letterman.
Joined Mar 21, 2004
[h2]Early Tuesday Results Indicate Split Decision for Leno and Letterman[/h2]
Posted on 10 March 2010 by Robert Seidman
For the first time since Jay Leon returned to 11:30, The Tonight Show trailed Late Showin the early metered market numbers (3.5 rating for Letterman versus3.2 for Leno).  In the 25 markets with local People Meters Leno held aslim edge with adults 18-49, but he did yesterday as well and when thenumbers for the broader national market were factored in,  Late Show wound up leading Tonight Show in the 18-49 demo, too.

I give it another week or two before Jay is really trailing Letterman. Jay's first show back actually had lower ratings than Conan's first Tonight Show. Also, Conan had higher ratings after Jay's 10pm show was cancelled and was replaced by re-reruns of Law and Order (which had higher ratings btw).
Joined May 3, 2007
kimmel was the biggest winner of the obrien/leno madness. he stepped in and is likely ciphering a bunch of conan's base who still needs to watch something other than twitter

fallon is still a chump, the roots should host the show.
Joined Jul 8, 2006
Fallon is coming up...his show has gotten a lot better. I wouldn't be surprised if he takes over the Tonight Show in 5 years when Leno officially calls it quits
Joined Jan 23, 2005
He's just benefiting from all the publicity surrounding the host switch. At least I hope that's what's happening...
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