It was Jay Leno’s third-to-last time fronting The Tonight Show last night but ratingswise it was like he was starting all over again. In his best result of any night of the week since the first week of his return to the show back in 2010, Leno pulled in 4.2/10 in metered-market households on Tuesday. That’s just behind the 4.2/11 Leno got on March 3, 2010, which was a Wednesday, and down from the 4.6/12 his Tuesday March 2, 2010 show drew. On the flip side, last night’s result is way up from the 3.1/8, The Tonight Show got last Tuesday on January 28. Last night’s Tonight Show had Oscar-nominated Dallas Buyers Club actor Matthew McConaughey, NBA legend Charles Barkley and Lyle Lovett as guests and a lot of highlight clips. Tuesday’s high ratings come following a very strong showing on January 31 and a near four-year high on Monday. Once again, Leno’s late night rivals were far behind with CBS’ David Letterman getting a 3.0/7 and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live drawing a 1.8/5 last night.
For Leno’s lead-out and successor Jimmy Fallon, it was one of the best nights in over four years. Late Night With Jimmy Fallon had a 2.1/7 in household metered-markets last night with its Best of”Digital Originals” show. That’s the best Fallon has done on a Tuesday since June 2, 2009 and matches the 2.1/ of that night for his top Tuesday result ever.
Leno exits The Tonight Show for the presumably final time on February 6 with Fallon taking over the show on February 17. The Tonight Show guests tonight are Oscar nominated Gravity actress Sandra Bullock, The Voice’s Blake Shelton and rock band Vintage Trouble.