Bro. O’Brien exchanged freemason secret handshakes when he joined Bro. Leno on the set for his final Tonight Show episode on Friday night. Bro. Leno was recruited to the Tonight Show to replace Freemason Johnny Carson in 1992 after many guest spot appearances. Bro. Leno supported the careers of many Freemason entertainers and politicians during his 17 year run, mirroring Bro. Carson’s masonic habits. Bro. Leno also ‘cut’ quite a few masonic recognition handsigns during his final monologue, a practice which he will no doubt continue in the fall on his ‘new’ program.
Jay Leno ended his 17-year run on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” with one for the record books. His send-off drew the highest Friday overnight ratings during his tenure on the program.
In the top 56 local TV markets, Leno scored an 8.8 rating/20 share in households, according to early data from Nielsen Media Research. That more than doubled the 3.9 rating Leno has averaged in the second quarter of this year. And it was the highest-rated “Tonight” for any night of the week since President Obama visited the program on March 19. Final ratings, including total viewer numbers, will not be available until Thursday.
“Tonight’s” ratings are being closely watched because NBC is about to undertake a risky programming experiment. On Monday, the “Tonight” slot will be taken over by Conan O’Brien, who was previously the host of NBC’s “Late Night.” And in a network bid to reduce program costs, Leno will this fall host a new prime-time talk show at 10 p.m. weeknights.