By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Wrapping Up Coco vs The Devil Leno
One of the scams that has been used to bolster Conan O’Brien’s disastrous run on The Tonight Show and to push the idea that he can, in any way, beat Leno is that the 18-49 has become the first, and often the only, rating reported in the media. It’s a lot like counting movie tickets sold instead of grosses.
Anyway… Dec 13-17
11:30 (35)p – 12:30 (35)a
Leno – 3.9 million viewers
Letterman = 3.6 million
Nightline/Kimmel – 3.9m/1.7m
Adult Swim – 1.9 million
11p – 12a
Daily Show/Colbert – 1.6m/1.2m
Conan – 1.3 million viewers
The only show Conan beats is Colbert.
All three cable shows have double dips – two showings – nightly, which are combined to reach these numbers.
And for those who worry only about the 18-49 demo, Leno has been soundly beating O’Brien and Letterman there as well in the last month-plus.
Some are comparing demos between Conan’s Tonight and Leno’s Tonight this year. But it’s from on particular week in December… and if you look up the numbers from last year, you’ll find “Conan generated his highest adult 18-49 rating in nine weeks (since the week of September 28-October 2).” The reason? Letterman was in repeats.
Bottom line, before the controversy bump, even on this, his strongest of weeks, Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien had about 2.5 million viewers. Leno, for all the beating he’s taken, is now at almost a 50% improvement on that, beating all challengers, and doing it in every demographic.
I’m not asking anyone to love Leno or to root against Conan. I’m a Letterman guy and have loyally been so since the NBC days. Just sayin’…
Conan will do well for TBS. But Leno is the late night king and there’s just no getting around it. It may not be for the best reasons… but it just is. Conan has 1/3rd his audience with a repeat or an early show included in all markets.
Scoreboard. Game over.
(Edited… scheduling error regarding Colbert.)