Letterman's Late Show Finale Bests Primetime With 21-Year Audience High

Letterman Late Show Finale Ratings

The much ballyhooed series finale of Late Show With David Letterman on Wednesday night/Thursday morning delivered its largest audience — 13.8 million total viewers — in 21 years, since its Feb. 25, 1994 outing (which led out of Winter Olympics coverage).

In the 18-49 demo, Late Show scored a 3.1, its best rating since Dec. 1, 2005, which featured the end of Dave’s 16-year “feud” with Oprah Winfrey.

Letterman’s Late Show sendoff thus outdrew and outrated every Wednesday primetime broadcast, and on the final night of May sweeps; TVLine readers gave the big goodbye an average grade of “A.”

Leading out of the milestone Late Show at 1 am, The Late Late Show With James Corden drew 4 million viewers (the largest audience for any host of the late, late program) and a 1.1 (its best rating since Dec. 19, 2005).

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  1. Mr. Tran K says:

    Happy retirement Dave and I really hope that Stephen Colbert will do a great job as he takes over the reins on September 8th. CBS is really shaking things up on late night TV (Colbert and Corden). BTW, will there be NO Late Show all Summer long before The Late Show with Stephen Colbert debuts?

    • TD says:

      I read somewhere that they’ll be running old Late Show reruns until Colbert takes over.

      • TD says:

        Guess that was wrong…just Googled it, and it looks like there will be “Mentalist” reruns.

        • hud says:

          Mentalist I miss. Letterman not. Colbert will do fine mocking everything American.Same crap nightly, “stars” gracing us with their latest movie, Same “comics” same jokes.Deplorable.

  2. hiram aponte says:

    So I guess the cbs late movie is back lol. Why not put corden in 1130 for a time this summer?

  3. Ellinas78 says:

    Well watching it I was reminded why I never liked the show. Apart from “Elaine’s” joke and another one or two other ones on the top 10 it wasn’t that good.

  4. Dude says:

    Some parts of the episode were good (the Top 10, the kids segment) but I wish they hadn’t relied so much on pre-taped packages. It was basically a clip show and he rambled so much at the end, I was tempted to turn it off. Not a perfect send-off by any means but it’s hard to wrap up a 20+ year legacy in one hour.

  5. Perfect says:

    That episode was perfection. Why? Because as funny as it was (and it was), Dave let the sweet man that he really is, but rarely showed, shine the entire hour fifteen.

  6. S.uddenly says:

    What a great finale – Congrats to Dave, Paul and Co. Also major kudos to CBS for handling his retirement/transition in such a classy way unlike the “don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out” way that NBC seems to handle these things. Have thoroughly enjoyed James Corden (other than TOO MANY Reruns!) and think he and Colbert will make an awesome combination/contrast to the other offerings.

  7. Annette says:

    With Dave gone I will stay with the 2 Jimmy’s,enjoy your well deserved retirement.

  8. Blaize says:

    Only watched long enough for the Top 10. Was disappointed in the Top 10.

  9. Calady says:

    CBS should have run the reruns of Mr. Letterman. The Late, Late SHow with James Corden is a big surprise. It is THAT good. Even this show should have been slotted at 11:30PM