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Record Friday Night for Jay Leno Send Off

jayleno-060109Jay Leno’s final Tonight Show delivered the show’s best ratings ever for a Friday night telecast.  The episode drew an 8.8/20 household rating/share in Nielsen’s 56 overnight metered markets.  That’s a 126% increase over the show’s metered-market average during the past quarter (3.9).

NBC had a very successful final week for The Tonight Show, with the late-night show increasing its numbers throughout the week: a 4.1 overnight household rating for Monday, 4.6 for Tuesday, 4.9 for Wednesday and 5.2 for Thursday.

Jay Leno, of course, returns this September to NBC’s fall lineup with The Jay Leno Show Monday-Friday at 10:00pm.

More after the jump.

Leading out of Leno was Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, which posted its second-best ratings (3.8/12) since his March 2nd debut.  The show’s previous best came on the night of President Obama’s appearance on The Tonight Show (3.9/13).

Despite the strong showing, Leno’s farewell couldn’t surpass the March 19th show which featured a special guest appearance by President Obama (11.2/26 rating/share).  It also fell behind his tribute episode to Tonight Show predecessor Johnny Carson, following Carson’s death in January 2005 (12.4 household rating).

For comparison sakes, Carson ended his 30-year Tonight Show run in 1992 with a 31.9/62 rating/share in the metered markets.