By Chris Nashawaty
October 06, 2009 at 05:54 PM EDT

Last night’s episode of David Letterman’s The Late Show on CBS scored a 4.2 Nielsen rating, a significant boost from its usual numbers and higher than anything rival network NBC had in prime time, according to the Associated Press. On Monday night’s program, a repentant Letterman served up jokes and contrition in equal doses, saving his most heart-felt apologies for his wife, Regina Lasko. Monday’s show was the first that the 62-year-old late-night host had taped since his admission on Thursday that he had had affairs with women on his staff and had been the victim of a $2 million blackmail threat.

More David Letterman:

David Letterman and his amazing ‘little story’

David Letterman, with ‘heartache and embarrassment’ and wit and strength, re-frames the media controversy, magnificently

The David Letterman controversy: Other talk show hosts refrain from jokes and attacks… except for Don Imus

David Letterman: Freedom of speech victim, or self-censoring?