Jay Leno’s Last ‘Tonight Show’ Got High Ratings, But “High” Is A Relative Term

The final episode of The Tonight Show hosted by Jay Leno aired last night and while you maybe still didn't watch, a lot of people did. Jay Leno's last episode brought his highest ratings since 2009. The show got a 9.2 household rating, the highest since President Obama was a guest on a March 2009 episode. The rating was higher than Leno's first Tonight Show finale from May 2009 which brought in an 8.8 rating. The first time Leno left didn't go so smoothly, but this time around there hasn't been much bad press about Leno or the story of a rivalry like there was with Conan O'Brien. It makes sense that more people would turn in this time to see Leno really leave for good. (Well, maybe. He could go the way of Oprah and start his own network.)

If you're confused about what these ratings mean, they're pretty simple. A 9.2 means that 9.2 percent of all televisions in the U.S. were tuned into Leno last night. The number might not seem that high, but there are just sooooo many shows and channels out there. In the 1950s a 9.2 would be low, but in 2014 when people can fall asleep on their sofas with Friends reruns on Nick at Nite playing in the background, ratings tend to be lower. Or was I the only one doing that during the Tonight Show finale?

This week as a whole was great for Leno when it came to ratings. The last time he had as many viewers in a week was in 2010 during his first week back hosting the show.

Leno's departure has also boosted the ratings of Jimmy Fallon whose show follows The Tonight Show. Fallon got his best ratings ever last night with a 4.6. His previous high was from an episode which followed the 2012 Super Bowl that brought him a 4.2. When Fallon takes over for Leno on Feb. 17 The Tonight Show is sure to get another ratings boost. Fallon will almost definitely beat his own current record, but the real question is, will he be able to top the numbers of Leno's final show?