Leno tops Letterman during July sweep


UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – August 2, 2012 – NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” have delivered their biggest adult 18-49 audiences in more than five months to top the ABC and CBS time-period competition in viewers 18-49, total viewers and other key categories for  the week of July 23-27.

Friday’s telecasts of “Tonight” and “Late Night” were delayed by NBC’s coverage of the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics, and that night’s telecast of “Tonight” averaged 2.150 million adults 18-49, Jay’s biggest 18-49 audience for any night of the week since Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010, the opening night of the 2010 NFL season.  In total viewers, Jay’s 5.351 million was “Tonight’s” biggest audience since Wednesday, March 3, 2010, during the week of Jay’s return as host of “Tonight.”  At 12:35 a.m. ET, Jimmy’s delayed Friday telecast averaged 1.175 million viewers 18-49, “Late Night’s” biggest 18-49 audience since Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, the opening night of the 2011 NFL season, and Friday’s 2.617 million viewers overall was Jimmy’s biggest overall audience since Friday, Feb. 12, 2010, the opening night of the Vancouver Olympics.

Boosted by those strong Friday results, Jay averaged 1.214 million adults 18-49 for the week, his biggest weekly 18-49 audience in 24 weeks, since the week of February 6-10.  In total viewers, Jay’s 3.697 million viewers was “Tonight’s” biggest audience since the week of June 25-29.  At 12:35 a.m. ET, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” averaged 710,000 adults 18-49, its biggest 18-49 audience in 23 weeks, since the week of February 13-17.  It was also Jimmy’s biggest overall viewership (1.742 million) since February 13-17.

For the week, “Tonight” topped the time-period competition of CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman” and ABC’s combination of “Nightline” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in 18-49 and total viewers and delivered bigger audiences than “Late Show” in every key ratings category: adults, men and women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54, plus total viewers.  At 12:35 a.m. ET, Jimmy Fallon also out-delivered CBS’s “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” in each of those categories.

Through the first 45 weeks of the 2011-12 broadcast year, “Tonight” has increased its total-viewer margin over “Late Show” to 20 percent (3.672 million vs. 3.069 million), up from the year-ago season-to-date advantage of 13 percent.  Jimmy Fallon has also established a total-viewer lead over “Late Late Show” this season of 20 percent (1.751 million vs. 1.463 million), up from last year’s advantage of 5 percent.  Jimmy has also increased his season-to-date lead over “Late Late Show” in adults 18-34, to 48 percent (273,000 vs. 185,000) up from last year’s 28 percent, and in adults 25-54, to 15 percent (846,000 vs. 737,000) up from 7 percent at this point last season.

“Tonight” delivered a bigger 18-49 audience than “Late Show” for the 28th time in 32 weeks while Jimmy Fallon attracted a bigger 18-49 audience than “Late Late Show” for a 35th week in a row. 



  1. In all my understandings Mr. Leno is the man that is always a television hit. I do belief that he is a master of humor and always a gentleman too. Mr. Letterman simply can not be funny and gains his wealth through belittlement of Americans. Mr. Leno is the king of comedy and this is a man who knows that people will laugh if the jokes are number one funny but also if he is kind to people too. I always have thought Mr. Leno to be very clever in his jokes. Much more clever that Mr. Letterman who is simply not funny. It is little wonder that Mr. Leno stays high in the television rating system and continues to be “King of Late Night” 🙂

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