Preliminary Nielsen Co. ratings from 56 metered markets across the nation give NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" a 5.4 rating and a 14 percent share of the viewing audience. That compares with a 3.4 rating and 8 share for ABC's "Nightline," and a 3.0 rating and 8 share for CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman."
After 17 years, Leno left "Tonight" last May in the hands of new host Conan O'Brien.
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O'Brien's first show ratings last spring were better than Leno's Monday night return. But O'Brien couldn't hang onto the viewers, leading to his departure. In the meantime, Leno starred in a weeknight NBC prime-time hour that was canceled for low ratings.