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Jay Leno's last 'Tonight' drew 14.6 million viewers



By LYNN ELBER

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Jay Leno's farewell "Tonight Show" drew the late-night show's biggest audience in more than 15 years, NBC said Friday.

A total of 14.6 million viewers tuned in Thursday to see Leno wrap up his 22 years as host of "Tonight," according to Nielsen company ratings released by NBC.

The audience was the biggest since May 14, 1998, when Jerry Seinfeld appeared on "Tonight" to mark the end of his sitcom and nearly 15 million viewers tuned in.

Leno's goodbye to "Tonight" was watched by 2.7 million more viewers than when Leno left in May 2009 to make way for Conan O'Brien's short-lived stint as host. That telecast had 11.9 million viewers.

Billy Crystal, Leno's first guest when he took "Tonight" over from Johnny Carson in 1992, was the final guest on Thursday. Garth Brooks was the show's last performer.

Jimmy Fallon, Leno's successor at "Tonight," also had a good Thursday. "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" was watched by 6 million viewers, the show's biggest audience since a 2012 Super Bowl special telecast drew nearly 6.1 million.

For a regular weeknight show, the post-Leno finale represents the biggest "Late Night" audience since David Letterman's final appearance as its host in June 1993 was watched by 7.5 million viewers.

"The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon," which is relocating from Burbank to New York, begins airing Feb. 17.

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Tom February 09 2014 at 7:40 PM

Jay was great, good hearted and gentle. Letterman has a mean streak and everyonce and a while it shows.

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1 reply
cev07 Tom February 09 2014 at 7:45 PM

i agree, don't watch David Letterman due to his insulting ways, he is'nt a bit funny to me!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
waterfrontlivin February 10 2014 at 1:49 AM

What a class act ole Jay was...his last words to us the American public was...' I'm coming home honey' making 'honey' his last word on the Tonight Show for his wife. You will be missed pal but thank you for all the laughs. We're proud you're from Ma.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
1 reply
CHERYL waterfrontlivin February 10 2014 at 2:36 AM

You've got that right!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
hi me February 09 2014 at 10:39 PM

nbc made a big mistake jay was the best ever

Flag Reply +9 rate up
nuclidic February 09 2014 at 7:12 PM

Guess make rating! Not by host alone. NBC sucks!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Lawrence February 10 2014 at 2:17 AM

I think NBC made a HUGE mistake. I like Fallon, but I love Leno. I hope he returns on some other show.

Flag Reply +13 rate up
1 reply
CHERYL Lawrence February 10 2014 at 2:38 AM

Jay Leno COME BACK!

Flag Reply +12 rate up
1 reply
Sammie CHERYL February 10 2014 at 2:53 AM

I will miss Leno. no doubt.

Flag +9 rate up
joanne February 10 2014 at 2:22 AM

I'll miss you, Jay...you're funny, intelligent, & a good sport! I wish you could've fought to stay...again!

Flag Reply +10 rate up
CHERYL February 10 2014 at 2:34 AM

NBC is going down the tubes. Jay Leno gone and all the violence that has been on NBC lately turns me off. Thank God for VCR tapes because the only thing I will be watching on Channel 10 is the news, and Law and Order. Other than that, flush it all down the toilet!

Flag Reply +9 rate up
fordrngr1 February 09 2014 at 7:01 PM

God Bless you Pal....... Take some time now for your car collection.... enjoy your time...

Flag Reply +14 rate up
Jarra February 09 2014 at 7:01 PM

I Will Miss Jay !!

Flag Reply +14 rate up
djbusterbut February 09 2014 at 6:56 PM

;actually the show drew 2.5 million more than they said............................someone hiding the true figures,,,,,, naughty naughty boys,,, you will get caught ...............................

Flag Reply +3 rate up
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