Leno drops most in Late Night, post-strike



The Tonight Show with Jay Leno still rules the weekday Late Night daypart, but the program took the biggest slide in ratings the first week of the writers strike. Nightline was the only show to air original episodes and consequently showed the biggest ratings gains in Household and Adult 18-49 ratings. "CBS tried to fool us by having Nielsen "code out" election night ratings from the Monday thru Friday averages for their shows but we’re including them here–they still held up pretty well. Overall, this is not the ratings disaster some had feared–not yet anyway," noted Shari Anne Brill, Carat USA VP/director of programming.

While ratings comparisons are difficult to make versus the last writers strike (Johnny Carson was in reruns the week before that work stoppage), Carat Programming did note one fun fact from March 7, 1988: The Tonight Show aired its last original episode on this first night of the strike-ignoring WGA pickets to guest host was none than, Jay Leno.