The Tonight Show ratings for Conan O’Brien on Friday night earned a 7.0. It was a remarkable ratings showing for Conan O’Brien and the perfect way to end his run as host of the show. During an episode where Conan O’Brien shared how happy he was to have worked at NBC for so many years, viewers tuned in to see O’Brien go out with a lot of class and humility. The ratings win is also something to hang on to as O’Brien heads into the sunset, most likely gearing up to work for a different network in the fall of 2010. For now though, this was the last time that we will see O’Brien as a host on television at least until September.
Conan’s final show ratings are just an estimate until the official ratings come out on January 28th, and sit at a 7.0 rating and 16 share for his last hour on television. With DVR recordings still to be counted, as well as several metered markets still not released, the chance exists that his numbers could even go up by the time they are made official. In comparison, The Late Show with David Letterman brought in a rating of 2.5 for a 5 share, with ABC’s Nightline earning a 2.8 rating and 6 share. Letterman hadn’t seen third place in the time slot for quite some time, but on Conan’s final night he probably didn’t mind as much as if it had been Jay Leno.
The great ratings for Conan also led to a successful night for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which earned a 3.3 rating and 10 share for his time slot. That beat out the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson by nearly double. Those who kept with NBC after Conan’s final show got to see Jimmy Fallon pay tribute to Conan O’Brien and his show in New York in a very funny moment. Starting in the hallway of his studio, he showed how close the old Conan O’Brien studio was, and took that stage with his house band (The Roots) to perform a few bars from the Boyz II Men song “It’s So Hard to Say Good Bye“, before pouring some whiskey on the ground in honor of Conan. It was quite a great moment perpetrated by Fallon.
Conan O’Brien brought out a number of big guests to end his run as host of The Tonight Show, but let’s face it, fans didn’t tune in just to see the guests he had on for the night. Conan O’Brien put together a show that was part funny, part humble, and part emotional that turned out to be the perfect way for him to end his seven month run on the show. He deserved the nice ratings for the work that went into the final show, and we haven’t heard a single fan that didn’t enjoy the final episode. It was definitely a bittersweet moment for Conan O’Brien and his fans, but the hope is still out there that he will end up finding another great job down the road.
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