Conan O'Brien's debut as host of the Tonight show posted a 7.1 rating and a 17 share Monday -- numbers that were higher than any show broadcast in primetime on that night, according to Nielsen Research. Indeed, there were more viewers for Tonight than for CBS's Late Show With David Letterman and ABC's Nightline combined. Nevertheless, the ratings were a substantial 19 percent lower than Leno's bow-out on Friday, which registered an 8.8/20. In its report on the transition, the Associated Press observed, "History suggests goodbyes draw more interest than hellos, even if Leno's exit is only temporary." Meanwhile, NBC announced that The Jay Leno Show will debut on Monday, Sept. 14 at 10 00 p.m. The date was about a week earlier than expected. NBC said that the network wanted to use the season debut of Sunday Night Football the previous night, the season finale of America's Got Talent and the season debut of The Biggest Loser that week to promote the new Leno variety show.

03/06/2009