As expected, viewers definitely tuned in to see Jay Leno’s return to The Tonight Show last night: the comedian led the time period over Late Show with David Letterman and ABC’s combination of Nightline and Jimmy Kimmel Live by 80 percent, according to NBC. Leno scored a 5.4 rating/14 share in 56 metered markets last night while Letterman earned a 3.0/8, Nightline, a 3.4/8 and Live, a 1.8/6. In the 25 markets with People Meters, Leno was No. 1 in the time period.
At 12:35 a.m, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon also beat CBS’s Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson by a margin of 40 percent. NBC is expected to release early national ratings later today.
UPDATE: NBC released fast national ratings from Monday, which revealed that Leno attracted 6.6 million viewers on his first night back, while Letterman lured 3.8 million. Leno earned a 1.6 rating in the 18-49 demo, versus a 1.1 rating for Letterman. For more on Leno’s return: