Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Late Night Ratings: David Letterman tops Conan O'Brien

The viewers have spoken, and they decided they'd rather see Julia Roberts banter with David Letterman about his recent marriage than watch Eddie Murphy plug his new flick to Conan O'Brien. On Tuesday night, Letterman scored a decisive victory, beating "The Tonight Show" in the ratings by a significant margin (3.4 rating in the overnight numbers vs. Conan's 2.9). That tops the Howard Stern-powered 3.0 he got on Monday, which put him just a tenth of a point behind O'Brien.

"Late Show" also featured an appearance by hitmaking group Black Eyed Peas on the day their new album was released.

The New York Times speculates that the late finish of last night's NBA playoff game on ABC and Stephen Colbert's special week of shows from Iraq may have cut into O'Brien's younger demographic. "Still, the turnaround has been unmistakable," writes the Times' Bill Carter. "On Tuesday night, Mr. Letterman averaged a 3.4 rating in the overnight numbers, to a 2.9 for Mr. O’Brien. A night before Mr. O’Brien had eked out a win in that measurement, 3.1 to 3.0. But the track for Mr. O’Brien has been as follows: 7.1, 5.0, 4.3, 3.8, 3.5, 3.1 and now 2.9."

Letterman isn't backing down; this week's guest lineup is a powerhouse. Tonight, Dave welcomes Kathy Griffin and the always popular Stupid Human Tricks (we'll guess that there aren't enough aging hipsters planning to tune in for Sonic Youth to significantly impact the ratings). Tomorrow, Denzel Washington makes his only late night talk show appearance (he sat down with Jimmy Kimmel for a "Game Night" prime-time special), along with the Jonas Brothers and a Top Ten List from Dave's old pal Regis Philbin. On Friday, Sandra Bullock stops by. Conan counters tonight with Dane Cook, although we're most looking forward to Thursday, when the ever-hilarious Norm MacDonald will be on.


  1. Santiago R. said...

    Its good to see Dave get his due in the ratings, but I dont care about that as much as other ppl for some reason. In my view, just cuz a show is not as watched as another, it doesnt mean its any less good or in this case much BETTER than the more popular one.

    I have the feeling Dave himself couldnt give a crap about beating Tonight in the ratings, even if his staff does, as told by Howard Stern on his appearance.