Last night’s historic appearance by Garth Brooks on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno earned it the fourth highest ratings since Leno took over for Johnny Carson more than 16 years ago. The episode drew a 11.2 rating/26 share, which was approximately 187% higher than the 3.9 household rating the show has averaged this season. The last time a Tonight Show episode enjoyed higher ratings, it was when Leno welcomed the cast of Seinfeld the night of its series finale on May 14th, 1998. Intrepid viewers sat through a full monologue featuring Leno’s patented Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation, a stale bit on items picked up at a $.99 store, and a three-segment interview with some guy named Obama. Finally, Brooks came on with his six-man band and played his 1991 hit “Rodeo.”
More info on the Neilsen boost can be found here.