TV Ratings: Letterman Climbs 75 Percent as Send-Off Approaches

With a visit from President Obama, 'The Late Show' easily topped Jimmy Fallon among households — though NBC maintained an edge with younger viewers.
The Late Show

The farewell festivities now in full effect, CBS saw big ratings spikes for outgoing David Letterman on Monday night.

Welcoming President Obama to the guest chair, The Late Show posted its strongest overnight ratings since September 2012, rising 75 percent from the same day last year. Compared to last week, the show was also up 45 percent.

Among Nielsen's metered markets, The Late Show averaged a 3.5 rating among households  — a full point above typical leader Jimmy Fallon (2.4 adults). NBC's Tonight Show maintained its lead among adults 18-49, at least in Local People Meters, with a 1.1 rating over Letterman's 0.7.

A visit from the president is typically big business for the late-night shows, and The Late Show wisely put theirs a full two weeks before Letterman's May 20 swan song. The additional audience that tuned in to Monday's episode is likely very aware of the ticking clock on Letterman's tenure.

The lifted lead-in was also good news for James Corden. The Late Late Show's 1.5 rating surpassed the series premiere for a new high.