Maybe it doesn’t matter who sits in the Tonight Show chair after all. NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno posted a 1.0 rating among adults 18-49 during premiere week, matching the performance of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien the same week last year. (In total viewers, the older-skewing Leno was up 58%). It was a close race among Leno, CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman and Nightline last week. Leno won in both total viewers (3.79 million vs. 3.78 million for Letterman) and adults 18-49, where he was tied with Nightline at a 1.0 rating, followed by Letterman with a 0.9. In actual 18-49 viewers, Letterman was virtually tied with Nightline (1.24 million vs. 1.25 million), while Leno drew 1.33 million. Letterman was down year-to-year in both total viewers (24%) and 18-49 (25%). Last year, Letterman’s average was boosted by an appearance by President Barack Obama, while this year his premiere week guest lineup featured former president Bill Clinton and actor Joaquin Phoenix.
Leno Narrowly Wins Premiere Week
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