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Late-Night Viewership Heads Back Toward Normal Levels

Viewing remained largely higher than season-to-date averages but subsided to more normal patterns for the networks’ late-night shows on Thursday, their second night back after eight weeks of writers strike-induced reruns.

NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” was still in first place according to data from Nielsen Media Research’s 55 metered markets, with an average 4.3 household rating and 10 share of audience, down from its 5.3 rating/12 share Wednesday.

“Late Show With David Letterman” on CBS averaged a 3.8 rating/9 share, compared to its 4.3/10 on Wednesday.

“Late Night With Conan O’Brien” settled back to a 2.1/7 after scoring a 2.5/8 on Wednesday for NBC.

On CBS. “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” posted a 1.8/6, not far off its Wednesday night average of 1.9/6.

On ABC, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” bucked the trend for a second consecutive night by averaging a 1.5/5, up a tick from Wednesday’s 1.4/4. “Kimmel’s” news lead-in, “Nightline,” likewise inched up to a 3.1/7 (vs. Wednesday’s 3.0/6), likely out of viewer interest in results from the Iowa caucuses that officially kicked off the presidential primary season.

The rating represents the percentage of all TV homes in the measured area that were tuned to a particular show. The share represents the percentage of all TV sets that were in use in that area that were tuned to the show.

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