February 08, 2014 03:34:30 GMT
More than 14 million people watched as Leno bid farewell to his audience in the episode featuring Kim Kardashian, Oprah Winfrey, Billy Crystal and more.
Jay Leno left "The Tonight Show" on a high note. In fact, his farewell episode posted the biggest audience for the show in 15 years with 14.6 million viewers tuning into the episode, which was star-studded with the surprise appearances of Kim Kardashian, Sheryl Crow, Jim Parsons, Oprah Winfrey, Jack Black and more.
It was the fourth highest-rated for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" all time, sitting behind the post-"Cheers" finale episode (22.4 million viewers in 1993), Leno's debut (16.1 million viewers in 1992, ) and the post-"Seinfeld" finale episode (15 million viewers in 1998).
Leno's successor Jimmy Fallon also paid tribute to the veteran host as he made his final "Tonight Show" appearance. On "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon", the "Saturday Night Live" alum thanked Leno. He jokingly said that "NBC's gonna extend it a week so we're gonna have another week of saying good-bye to Jay Leno" because the ratings for Leno's good-bye week were so good.
On the same night, NBC netted big ratings with the first night of coverage of Winter Olympics in Sochi. The Thursday night, February 6 coverage posted 19.6 million total viewers and a 5.8 rating in adults demo. It, however, was down from the 2010 Winter Olympics' Opening Ceremony which drew 32.6 million viewers.