Obama on Leno: Ratings Three Times More Than Usual

Highest Metered-Market Rating Since '05 Carson Tribute

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- President Barack Obama's appearance on Thursday night's "Tonight Show With Jay Leno" generated the program's best ratings since 2005, according to both NBC and preliminary figures from Nielsen Media Research.

According to Nielsen, the president helped the show attract an 11.2 rating and a 26 share. Each rating point equals 1% of the 114.5 million TV households in the U.S.

Thursday's telecast of "Tonight" improved upon the show's season-average 3.9 household rating in the metered markets by 187%, according to NBC. In the first week of March, Leno attracted an average audience of 4.91 million viewers.

The last time Jay Leno scored a higher metered-market rating than last night's 11.2 was Thursday, May 14, 1998, when the comedian notched a 12.4 rating the night of the "Seinfeld" finale. Thursday's audience marks the highest "Tonight" rating in metered-market households since Monday, Jan. 24, 2005, when the show captured an 11.2 during a special tribute to Johnny Carson.

The ratings represent an early sample of the audience data Nielsen supplies to the networks. National ratings for last night's "Tonight Show" may not be available until Thursday, according to a Nielsen spokeswoman.

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