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Arnold boosts Jay Leno's ratings

August 20, 2003

Arnold Schwarzenegger's announcement that he was running for governor of California drew the second-highest rating of the year for NBC's Tonight show, Nielsen Media Research said Thursday.

Only Katie Couric's job switch with Tonight show host Jay Leno in May drew bigger numbers in Nielsen's overnight sample of major media markets.

The Tonight show had a 6.9 rating and 17 audience share, according to Nielsen's preliminary estimates. One rating point roughly corresponds to a little more than a million households; the share indicates 17 per cent of televisions on at that hour were tuned in to Tonight.

The numbers were bigger in markets candidate Schwarzenegger cares about: 26 per cent of televisions in Sacramento, California's capital, were tuned to Tonight, and 23 per cent in Los Angeles.

The actor-candidate wasn't as big a draw across the country. In New York, the Tonight audience share was 14, Nielsen said.

More complete Nielsen ratings, including an estimate of how many people watched across the entire country, aren't expected until next week.