David Letterman's return to Late Show Monday night after a long absence paid handsome dividends.

Monday's Late Show notched a 5.3 metered-market rating -- the show's second-highest rating of the season behind the Feb. 17 show featuring "Dr. Phil" McGraw.

Letterman was back for the first time since Feb. 25, when a bout with shingles knocked him off the show.

Monday's Late Show was 29 percent higher than its Monday-night season average -- and 43 percent higher than its Monday-Friday average.

Those Late Show numbers also helped Craig Kilborn's Late Late Show at 12:35 a.m., which delivered a 2.1 overnight rating -- 24 percent higher than its Monday season average and 31 percent higher than its Monday-Friday average.