Jimmy Fallon‘s second “Tonight Show” was the most-watched Tuesday installment in 13 years, with 7.4 million viewers.
The audience size marks the show’s top Tuesday since Dec. 26, 2000, when then-host Jay Leno pulled in 7.5 million viewers. In the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, “Tonight” earned a 2.3 rating.
“Tonight” outperformed the combined viewership results for CBS’s “Late Show With David Letterman”(2.7 million) and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (2.2 million) by roughly 52 percent (7.4 million vs. a combined 4.9 million), according to the newly available Nielsen numbers.
Night-to-night, Fallon’s “Tonight Show” dropped 35 percent in viewership — a not-unexpected downtick. From Night 1 to Night 2, Conan O’Brien’s “Tonight Show” dipped 33 percent.
Below are the metered market numbers — a very preliminary ratings measurement measuring 56 local American markets– which were reported earlier on Wednesday. At the time, the numbers landed the late-night staple its highest Tuesday in seven years — a length which has since nearly doubled with the aforementioned Nielsen live plus same-day data.
The last Tuesday “Tonight Show” to earn such good metered market ratings aired Feb. 13, 2007. This time around, “Tonight” averaged a 5.3 rating/15 share in household results per Nielsen Media Research.
That number was down 25 percent from Monday’s debut episode, which had a 7.1. The 75 percent retention rate topped Conan O’Brien’s retention rate of 70 percent over his first pair of “Tonight Show” episodes in 2009. The gap has since widened.
The Sochi Games, Fallon’s current lead-in and the reason for his delayed start time, were down on Tuesday versus Monday, which may also have contributed to the dip.
According to the earlier numbers “The Tonight Show” on Tuesday beat the combined rating of CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman” (2.2/5) and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (1.9/5) by 29 percent — a 5.3 vs. a summed 4.1. That number also clearly increased as more accurate metrics became available.