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Sunday, March 22, 2009

"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Scores Big Ratings with President Obama's Apperance


Obama's 'Tonight Show' racks up ratings
President gives Leno his best numbers since '05

President Obama's appearance on "The Tonight Show" Thursday gave the show some of its biggest ratings in years.

The president's interview with Leno drew an 11.2 rating/26 share in the overnight ratings, a preliminary sample of 56 major markets. That's the biggest "Tonight Show" rating since it drew an identical number on Jan. 24, 2005, for a tribute to Johnny Carson, who had died the previous day. The last time it drew a bigger audience was in 1998 on the night of the "Seinfeld" finale.

Obama's appearance marked the first time a sitting president had appeared on "The Tonight Show."

VIDEO: Obama on 'The Tonight Show'

Final numbers for Thursday's telecast won't be released until next week, but it's probably safe to say that "The Tonight Show" outdrew anything in NBC's prime-time lineup for the night, and most of the competition's offerings as well. The 11.2 rating was also more than double the show's 3.9 metered-market average for the season.

The big lead-in helped "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (3.9/13) to the best ratings of its young life -- and the best for "Late Night" since Jan. 24, 2005, when the "Tonight" Carson tribute delivered a similarly large audience.

Obama's appearance will likely end up among the highest-rated shows during Leno's "Tonight" tenure. At the moment it's tied for fourth with the Carson tribute and trails only the "Seinfeld" finale, Leno's 1992 debut as host and the show following the "Cheers" finale in 1993.


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