Jay Leno only has a few more weeks before The Tonight Show is handed over to Jimmy Fallon. The veteran host is making the most of his final late night run, scoring a decisive victory over long-time rival David Letterman.
Is Leno’s no holds barred approach to President Barack Obama the difference maker?
Variety reports the suddenly massive ratings gap between Leno’s Tonight Show and Letterman’s Late Show:
CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman” continues to struggle, with its 18-49 audience (736,000) down 20% from last year. As a result, the “Tonight Show” advantage over “Late Show” has swelled to 51% after standing at just 7% at this time a year ago.
During that time, Leno proved to be Obama’s most most consistent comedy critic as revelations about the NSA domestic spying program, IRS activities against the Tea Party and ObamaCare hit the news cycle. Meanwhile, Letterman mostly steered his monologues away from gags that might hurt the president’s image.
At a time when young voters are fleeing the president, Leno’s more critical approach could be just what that demographic ordered.
Leno and Letterman’s ratings battle is nothing new. The suddenly wide gap between them, however, certainly is.