Letterman's Farewell Attracts Largest Audience in More Than 20 Years

Michael Schneider
Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Viewers flocked Wednesday night to say farewell to Dave. The much-heralded Late Show with David Letterman farewell averaged 13.8 million viewers, according to fast national ratings released by CBS.

That makes it the fourth most-watched episode of Late Show since Letterman joined CBS in 1993, and the most-watched since February 25, 1994, during CBS' coverage of the Winter Olympics.

The Late Show finale also averaged a 3.1 rating with adults 18-49 and a 4.1 rating with adults 25-54, the best delivery in those demos since Oprah Winfrey's appearance on Dec. 1, 2005.

Here is a list of the top 10 Letterman episodes ever:

1. 2/25/1994 (Olympics): 15.5 million

2. 8/30/1993 (CBS premiere): 15.2 million

3. 2/23/1994 (Olympics): 14.2 million

4. 5/20/2015 (Finale): 13.8 million

5. 12/1/2005 (Oprah Winfrey guest): 13.5 million

6. 2/18/1994 (Olympics): 12.8 million

7. 2/21/2000 (Return after heart surgery): 11.7 million

8. 1/12/2000 (Hillary Clinton guest): 11.2 million

9. 2/24/1994 (Olympics): 10.7 million

10. 8/31/1993 (Second show): 10.7 million

The lead-in was a boon for The Late Late Show with James Corden, which averaged 4 million viewers, the largest audience ever for the show under any host. The Late Late Show also posted a 1.4 rating in adults 25-54 and 1.1 rating in adults 18-49, its best delivery in adults 25-54 since December 1, 2005 and best adults 18-49 rating since December 19, 2005.

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