Departing Jay Leno Is Currently Crushing Letterman and Kimmel in Ratings

Back in April, NBC executives announced that they would soon be replacing Jay Leno as the host of the Tonight Show. Just like it tried to do four years ago, the network will be handing the reigns of the show over to a younger, hipper personality, who happens to host Late Night. But unlike four years ago when the network disastrously removed Leno in favor of Conan O’Brien—and then later reinstated Leno—the denim-shirted comedian’s ratings are as high as they have ever been, as the network prepares to move Jimmy Fallon into the hosting gig.

According to Nielsen, Leno’s ratings in the key 18 to 49 viewer demographic are currently 43% higher than Letterman, and a whopping 75% higher than Jimmy Kimmel. Even if he’s not exactly a critical favorite, if he’s killing it in the ratings, why is he being taken off the air? As one NBC executive bluntly tells Newsweek, “I don’t get it.” (Warning, some of the other quotes in the story contain strong language.) If history tells us anything, it’s that NBC programming executives know exactly what they’re doing, and this will end well for all parties involved …

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