By James Hibberd
Updated April 04, 2014 at 05:41 PM EDT
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Saying goodbye is sad, poignant — and quite popular. As we’ve seen before, a late-night host going into his final lap tends to grow his numbers. We all like something a little more when we know it’s going away. Case in point: David Letterman jumped to his biggest rating in a couple years Thursday night for his retirement announcement.

CBS’ Late Show had a 3.2 overnight household rating, its biggest return since 2012. By comparison, NBC’s Tonight Show and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live both had a 2.4. Overlooked in all the initial conversation about Letterman’s departure is how CBS is likely going to be able to boost the host’s numbers (and smack rivals) as Letterman’s final episode approaches in 2015 — just as Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien enjoyed strong runs as they approached stepping down at NBC.

Also last night in the prime-time ratings: The return of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory easily won the night while freshman The Millers jumped 21 percent from its last original. ABC’s Scandal was down this week to tie its season low. NBC’s Community fell 18 percent to hit a new series low. Fox’s shows were down, but the network was preempted in some markets.

Full prime-time chart:

NET/TIME/SHOW

18-49 rating

total viewers (+000)

FOX

8-9P

HELL KTCHN-

1.7

4,896

9:00P

AM IDOL-TH-

1.8

7,721

9:30P

SURVIVING-

1.2

4,490

ABC

8-9P

ONCE-WNDLD-

0.9

3,238

9-10P

GREY ANTMY-

2.6

7,978

10-11P

SCANDAL-

2.8

8,839

CBS

8:00P

BIG BANG-

4.8

17,391

8:30P

MILLERS-

2.9

11,431

9:00P

TWO&HLF MN-

2.5

9,371

9:30P

CRAZY ONES-

1.8

6,467

10-11P

ELEMENTARY-

1.6

7,793

NBC

8:00P

COMMUNITY-

0.9

2,583

8:30P

PARK & REC-

1.1

2,688

9-10P

HLLYWD GME-

1.1

3,092

10-11P

PARENTHOOD-

1.2

3,734

CW

8-9P

VAMPIRE DRS-

R

0.3

870

9-10P

REIGN-

R

0.3

866

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