On last night's Jay Leno Tonight Show farewell, incoming host Conan O'Brien joked about how he keeps hearing he's got big shoes to fill.
Better make that bigger shoes to fill.
The end-of-an-era episode scored Tonight's biggest overnight Friday ratings of Leno's 17-year run, NBC said today.
The show would have really been a Nielsen history-maker for Leno—were it not for President Barack Obama.
Obama's March 19 appearance on Tonight helped Leno to his biggest late-night audience since 1998: 14.6 million viewers. While total-viewer numbers were not in yet for last night's show, its overnight rating was not bigger than the Obama episode's.
Not that Leno's farewell wasn't a draw. From Mel Gibson Monday to last night, Leno's overnight ratings climbed more than 100 percent.
David Letterman assisted Leno's cause. In an apparent show of respect to his outgoing rival, his Late Show was in reruns all week.
Letterman's back on Monday, though—just in time for O'Brien's debut.