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


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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Grams February 09 2014 at 3:33 PM


Flag Reply +8 rate up
2 replies
quata56 Grams February 09 2014 at 3:41 PM

NBC Mess up AGA

NBC mess up

Flag Reply +5 rate up
LadyGodiva Grams February 09 2014 at 4:24 PM

Oh boo hoo...How old are you?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
wrf69 February 09 2014 at 4:26 PM

Big mistake NBC!!!

Flag Reply +12 rate up
Bruce February 10 2014 at 1:41 PM

tonight show was my LAST reason for watching anything on NBC...with Jay Gone the network and all it's stations might as well close cause i will not be watching, along with i'd dare say 100's of thousands more.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
rondy727 February 09 2014 at 4:20 PM

Toooooooooooooooo many commercials!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
MaryLou February 09 2014 at 3:59 PM

Love J Leno---but now I can go to bed earlier-----gonna miss him

Flag Reply +15 rate up
ajnorthaurora February 09 2014 at 3:58 PM

NBC screwed up again they are trying to replace Leno but don't take into consideration the older crowd identify with him and the older people still make the difference. I hope he goes some where else this time and shows CBS how badly they screwed themselves.

Flag Reply +13 rate up
mals February 09 2014 at 4:38 PM

I will miss Jay--even if I couldn't stay up and watch the whole show, I would at least try to see his monologue. Not interested in Jimmy Fallon-- a lightweight compared to Leno IMHO.

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1 reply
Brutal mals February 09 2014 at 4:55 PM

And we all thought the same about Jay when he replaced Johnny. The truth is that Fallon has more raw talent than either of his predecessors. He is a good comedian, has musical and dancing ability, and he is very-very good at improvisation which will set him apart more than anything. He is anything but a lightweight and has the personality matched with the tools to eclipse both Johnny and Jay as the host of the show. Hey, I feel you … I still miss Johnny and sad to see Jay’s reign come to an end. But, you need to give Jimmy a chance. He will not disappoint.

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1 reply
ctaylr77 Brutal February 09 2014 at 5:16 PM

That's right and you won't have to worry about Jimmy holding Obama accountable for his blunders like Jay did. Don't believe Jay did? Listen to this Youtube clip then count how many times Jimmy goes after Obozo. I mean Obama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CpKQcVLiQI

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ldbelb February 09 2014 at 4:38 PM

Jay was clever, quick and original. Jimmy is silly and slapstick, and most of the time does not look at his audience, but looks down...it is annoying. Jay has big shoes...Jimmy won't fill.

Flag Reply +14 rate up
jgmrealestate February 09 2014 at 4:32 PM

Just run the old Johnny Carson reruns and the ratings will hit the roof

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Welcome Janice February 09 2014 at 4:33 PM


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1 reply
Brutal Welcome Janice February 09 2014 at 5:22 PM

... and people in Hell want ice water. We survived Jay replacing Johnny and we will survive Jimmy replacing Jay. Jimmy will not disappoint. Now, if we could just replace Obama.

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1 reply
Henry Ponce Brutal February 09 2014 at 5:36 PM

We'd rather replace you

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