Nielsen: 13.76 Million Viewers for Letterman’s Last Show

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Comic celebrities turned out for David Letterman’s late-night farewell — and so did his biggest audience in more than 21 years.

The Nielsen company said Thursday that 13.76 million viewers saw Letterman end his 33-year career as a late-night TV host with a final show Wednesday night. The last time Letterman had so many viewers was in February 1994, when his show aired after CBS’ telecast of the Winter Olympics.

More people watched Letterman than anything else in prime time on Wednesday night. Letterman’s final show started at 11:35 p.m. and lasted more than an hour as CBS let it run long.

Jay Leno’s farewell last February was seen by 14.6 million viewers.

Both exits take a back seat to the man who came before them. Johnny Carson’s signoff in 1992 drew more than 41.4 million viewers — more than Letterman and Leno combined. But in fairness, that was a time when most Americans were still getting TV off the air — not through the myriad options viewers have today. (AP)

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