The pre-publicity surrounding the extortion attempt against David Letterman only helped to boost the late night host’s already impressive ratings for the new TV season: last night’s installment of The Late Show won its time slot by earning a 4.4 rating/12 share in overnights, the show’s best performance this week (final ratings are due next week). It also represented a 22 percent improvement to Letterman’s season-to-date average among overnight ratings, according to CBS.

Overall, the news from Nielsen is only positive for Letterman as he continues to do battle with Conan O’Brien, the new host of The Tonight Show; Letterman won the first full week of the 2009-10 season in viewers and all key demos, his first such win since 2005. The Late Show averaged 5 million viewers during its first week.