Thursday, July 30, 2009

Late Night Ratings: Letterman threepeats

Nothing's new in the world of Dave vs. Conan: "Tonight Show" ratings continue to slip, from the July 13-17 average of 2.7 million viewers to 2.5 million viewers during the week of July 20-24, according to the New York Times. The average viewership of "Late Show" and "Nightline" went down a bit too; 3.32 million people tuned in to see Letterman, and ABC News' show, during a Michael Jackson-free week, plummeted from 3.7 million to 3.16 million.

Of course, Conan continues to grab those "younger adult viewers many advertisers prefer," as the Times' Bill Carter puts it. 626,000 viewers between the ages of 18 and 34 watched "Tonight," vs. 331,000 young "Late Show" fans. However, Dave has essentially closed the gap in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic: O’Brien had 1.35 million viewers in that group, vs. 1.32 million for Letterman.

"Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"'s viewership decreased from 1.3 million to 1.21 million, while Craig Ferguson's audience stayed about the same -- around 1.5 million. Of course, Fallon gets more of the Coveted Younger Demographic®.

For the network spin, here's CBS' take ("'Late Show' Beats 'The Tonight Show' in Viewers For the Third Consecutive Week -- First Time Since July 1995"). NBC hasn't issued a press release as of this writing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Very Belated Alert: Craig Ferguson plays himself in "The Ugly Truth"

Talk Show News tries to keep up with everything going on in the world of late night chat, but sometimes a crucial tidbit just slips by unnoticed. The trailer made "The Ugly Truth" look like a really, really crummy movie. (The 15% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes solidified that impression.) However, there's at least one interesting thing about the hit romcom: Craig Ferguson plays himself, hosting one of the movie's characters (played by fellow Glaswegian Gerard Butler!) on his "Late Late Show."

Ferguson has a long way to go to catch up with cameo king Jay Leno, who has appeared as himself in about a zillion movies and TV shows, from "In & Out" and "Space Cowboys" to "EdTV" and "Juwanna Mann."

Watch a brief clip of Craig's appearance below.

Today in Rerun News, plus Shatner returns to "Tonight"

We've all heard that David Letterman has been catching up to Conan O'Brien in the ratings, but Dave had better watch his back -- Conan is almost guaranteed to beat him handily during the weeks of Aug. 3 and 10.

Why? "Late Show" is going into reruns, presenting early-summer newsmakers like Bruno, Daniel Radcliffe and Johnny Depp. (Dave's now-notorious interview with Joaquin Phoenix will also be shown, on Aug. 7.) Meanwhile, O'Brien will roll out a fortnight of fresh shows with stars including "Mad Men"'s Jon Hamm and comic Robin Williams.

(Speaking of "Tonight," William Shatner -- whose hilarious beat-poetry rendition of Sarah Palin's farewell speech became a viral video hit -- will be back on the show this evening, this time reading a selection of Palin's tweets.)

"Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" will deliver new episodes while Dave is in Montana or St. Barts or wherever he plans to hang out next month.

Fans of "The View" will have to live without the ladies' take on hot topics for a month, as the show wraps up its season on Friday the 7th. Highlights of the finale week include Sherri Shepherd's "bathing suit body" unveiling on the 6th, and a visit from "Julia & Julia" stars Meryl Streep and Amy Adams on the 7th. The show's 13th season will begin the morning after Labor Day: Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Joan Rivers no fan of Jay Leno

Don't look for Joan Rivers to show up any time soon on "The Jay Leno Show." According to Live Feed blogger James Hibberd, Rivers, appearing at the Television Critics' Association press tour to plug her new TVLand show "How'd You Get So Rich?," had some harsh words for the comedian.

"I think it's brilliant that Leno is at 10 pm, because America can get bored more easily and go to sleep earlier," she said. "When was the last time you heard, 'Did you hear what Leno said last night?' It will be nice for the Midwest because their crops will be greener."

Aggrieved Leno fans who want to see Rivers get hers should tune in to Comedy Central's roast of the plastic surgery addicted star on Aug. 9. A few of the jokes have leaked out already, including this one from Greg Giraldo: "You used to look your age, but now you don't even look like your species."

Joan will be promoting the roast on "Live with Regis & Kelly" on Aug. 3 and on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" on Aug. 4.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

George Lopez: No desk, no monologue, no cue cards

George Lopez appeared at the television critics' summer press tour to promote his new late night talk show, "Lopez Tonight," which will debut Nov. 13 on TBS and air Monday-Thursday. According to The Live Feed blog, Lopez "hopes to keep the format flexible, bringing audience members up to the couch, putting different guests together on stage, and sometimes opening with a guest. 'If you have Prince, why would you have him go last?' he said. 'It's supposed to be a party and a party is spontaneous.'" Lopez also screened the Barack Obama clip which had already been screened at the May upfronts (and which Talk Show News covered at the time).

Variety quotes Lopez as saying his ethnic background will serve him well in the overwhelmingly white male field of late night chat. "We have 93 million households, and we're in a beautiful position at 11 o'clock. There's an audience out there that's underserved," Lopez said. "In the continuing diversity of the country, and as people become more familiar with you, you realize it's not your father's country anymore."

Lopez plans to borrow from one of his mentors, Johnny Carson, who helped kick-start the comic's career when he appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" in 1991. He said he will give air time to new comics "and plans to re-institute Carson's famous thumbs up and wave to those he invites to the couch," writes the L.A. Times' Show Tracker blog.

Yet another blog, Zap 2 News & Buzz, gave a little taste of the type of humor Lopez's audience can expect. Asked about the president, he said, "If he came to Los Angeles again with Michelle and his mother-in-law, I'd like them to stop by. Listen -- Barack Obama is of Kenyan decent, but he also has some Latino in him. I think you see the Latino -- he lives in a house that's not his, that's very Latino. His mother-in-law lives with him, helping raise his two kids. He's one of us! He's a man for all people. And yes -- I would say that if they came to Los Angeles and didn't come on the show, I would personally be offended."

Shatner Does Palin

On last night's "Colbert Report," Stephen Colbert demonstrated Sarah Palin's speech-writing technique by pulling random pieces of paper out of a hat and reading them. But the best take on the Alaska governor's resignation speech came from whichever writer on Conan O'Brien's staff had the brilliant idea to call up William Shatner and ask him to read it, beat poetry style:

Monday, July 27, 2009

The man who gave Jay Leno the 10 PM slot is leaving NBC

Ben Silverman, co-chairman of NBC Entertainment Studios and Universal Media Studios, is leaving that job and will be replaced by Jeff Gaspin, president and COO of the Universal Television Group (responsible for NBC's cable properties, including Bravo, Syfy and Oxygen).

Variety reports that Silverman will stay at the Peacock "for several weeks to assist in the launch of NBC's fall schedule," but after that, he'll be leaving to start a new production company for his former business partner and backer Barry Diller.

Silverman's two-year tenure at NBC failed to pull the network out of last place; some of his flops included "Knight Rider," "The Bionic Woman," and "My Own Worst Enemy." In an interview with, Silverman says that "fall will be where my story at NBC really gets written," citing the Joel McHale sitcom "Community" and "The Jay Leno Show" as "exactly the kind of things I wanted to champion, and was able to take the time to push through."

One of Silverman's big ideas for saving network TV in the DVR era: paid product placements. "The McDonald’s deal that we made with Jay confirms what I saw as Jay’s ability to be DVR proof, topical, day and date and to deliver," he told PaidContent's Staci D. Kramer. "McDonald’s, this great bleeding edge marketer, saw this an opportunity to play out their Monopoly game. What’s the greatest place to pay it off where you can also drive people into McDonald’s? The Jay Leno show. Better than anything else they can do. That’s an example of the kind of validation that we’ll continue to see with Jay’s show. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I know the first couple of weeks will be great but it’ll also be great in nine months in the summer when he’s up against repeats."

Will McHale be plugging Bic pens, Mead notebooks and No-Doz during his sitcom, which is set at a community college? Stay tuned.

"Nightline": Beneficiary of a "big shift happening in late night"

New York Times TV writer Bill Carter reports on "Nightline" in today's paper, stating that "viewership for the news show is up 14 percent in the last six weeks compared with the same week a year ago, and, in the most recent two weeks, the program has frequently grabbed the most viewers of the three shows." After Ted Koppel left the show in 2005, there were plenty of predictions that Jimmy Kimmel would be moved up to 11:30, or that ABC would make some other programming change to put entertainment in that time slot. However, the network stuck with "Nightline," which has resulted in successful counterprogramming.

“I think there’s another big shift happening in late night,” said executive producer James Goldston, referring to Jay Leno's move to 10 PM and Conan O'Brien taking over the "Tonight Show." David Westin, the president of ABC News, said, “When Jay left, some people were freed up to consider other alternatives.”

The "Nightline" folks deny that their ratings success is strictly Michael Jackson-driven, even though news related to the late star was featured on 12 out of 16 shows following his death. Goldston says that since moving to its post-Koppel, three-story-a-night format, "Nightline" retains 54% of the local news audience, up from 39%.

One interesting parenthetical mentioned by Carter:

One factor not often mentioned is that “Nightline” has the advantage of being rated for just a half-hour, while the other two shows run for a full hour at a time of night when many viewers are drifting away to bed as the minutes roll by. The ABC program would win less often if its ratings were compared to the first, much higher-rated half-hours of the entertainment shows.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

NBC shuffles prime time lineup in effort to help Conan's ratings

One more ratings item: The New York Times is reporting that NBC is making changes to its 10 PM time slot to help provide a strong lead-in to its late night shows.

The terrorist-hunting show "The Wanted" was a ratings bust last Monday night -- and "some NBC late-night executives expressed concern that Conan O’Brien’s 'Tonight Show' had suffered as a result," writes the Times' Bill Carter. "Mr. O’Brien, who is in a tight ratings battle with David Letterman on CBS and 'Nightline' on ABC, had a promising lineup Monday with Adam Sandler as the lead guest. But his rating–even among the young adult viewers where he has been strong–did not get a boost."

Dave's Monday guests were Katherine Heigl, old buddy Jeff Altman, and rock band Spinnerette.

Next Monday, NBC will try moving "The Wanted" to 9 PM and putting an episode of "Dateline" on at 10, to see if it will help Conan's guest roster of Meryl Streep, "Funny People" director Judd Apatow and the Fray. Dave, meanwhile, will host the Dave Matthews Band, with the lead singer sitting down for an interview as well as performing.

Late Night Ratings: Conan in third place after Letterman, "Nightline"

CBS is first out of the gate again this morning with a ratings press release about the week of July 13-17, and the Eye is excited. Here's the headline:

"Late Show" Tops "Tonight Show" in Viewers for the Third Time in Four Weeks
The Gap in Both Adults 18-49 and Adults 18-34 Narrows to Their Smallest Difference Since Conan Became Host
"The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" Tops "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"

Yes, Conan O'Brien is still winning over the Coveted Younger Demographic®, but CBS says Dave is catching up: "In adults 18-49, LATE SHOW was just -0.2 of a rating point behind 'The Tonight Show,' while among adults 18-34, the gap has narrowed to -0.5 of a rating point, the smallest difference between the two shows in both demographic measures since Conan became host."

But wait! Here's NBC, saying that they couldn't be happier with Conan's performance! "Despite a highly publicized appearance on 'Late Show' by former Beatle Paul McCartney, 'Tonight' more than doubled 'Late Show's' audience last week in the younger half of late-night's key 18-49 demo, adults 18-34... In adult 18-49 rating, 'The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien' finished #1 or tied for #1 on five of five nights last week and is 30 for 30 with original telecasts since Conan's June 1 debut."

Looking at the overall numbers, however, it's hard to see how NBC can be completely pleased. I mean, this looks kind of grim (and note that "Nightline" is still beating both entertainment shows, even after their Michael Jackson coverage ratings bump):

NBC "Tonight," 2.7 million viewers
CBS "Late Show," 3.5 million viewers
ABC "Nightline," 3.7 million viewers
Comedy Central, 11 p.m. ET, "The Daily Show," 1.5 million viewers
Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. ET, "The Colbert Report," 1.1 million viewers

ABC "Kimmel," 1.5 million viewers
NBC "Late Night," 1.3 million viewers
CBS "Late Late Show," 1.5 million viewers

Going back a month, Conan had an average of 3.3 million viewers per show during the week of June 15 -- a number that has been steadily dropping. Dave, meanwhile, was watched by 3.5 million people, exactly the same number that tuned in during the current ratings period. "Nightline" has seen big gains. Have some late night viewers decided to get a news fix at 11:30 instead of watching a traditional talk show?

The average age of Conan viewers has also crept up in the last month, from 45.8 during the week of June 15 to 47.2 during the week of July 13.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Need a Leno fix? Head to

Fresh content is being added to, including a few videos of the man himself performing stand-up (Sotomayor jokes!) and vlogs by band member Vicki Randle, who is trying to lose 10 pounds before the show debuts on Sept. 14, and a behind-the-scenes look from talent coordinator Bryan Branly. And if you really miss Headlines and Jaywalking, there are best-of videos.

Why no countdown widget, NBC? Do we have to do everything around here?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy birthday to Dave's mom

David Letterman's mom Dorothy, who has been such a charming presence on his show over the years, is turning 88 tomorrow (Saturday, July 18). In honor of her birthday, she will be presenting a special Top Ten list on the show tonight, via satellite from her Indiana home.

A preview of some of the Top Ten Ways Dave’s Mom Is Celebrating Her Birthday, from CBS: “Spend day fishing with Sarah Palin”; “I’m gonna watch the kid that replaced Leno”; and “Going to a ‘Fire David Letterman’ rally.” The full list will be available tomorrow on the "Late Show" web site. You can read up on Dorothy at Wikipedia.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Late Night Ratings: Paul McCartney boosts David Letterman's numbers

CBS is trumpeting the news that Sir Paul McCartney's much-hyped appearance helped last night's "Late Show with David Letterman" top "The Tonight Show" by its largest margin since Oct. 16, 2008 (Sen. John McCain's even more hyped appearance). For the week of July 6-10, "Late Show" "beat 'The Tonight Show' by its largest margin in viewers since 2000, placed first in adults 25-54 (tie) and narrowed the margin in adults 18-49 opposite Conan O'Brien to just -0.3 of a rating point... In adults 18-49 (0.8/04 vs. 1.1/05), LATE SHOW continued to cut 'The Tonight Show's' lead: -1.4 in Conan O'Brien's premiere week, -0.6 in the week ending June 12, -0.5 in the week ending June 19 and -0.3 in the week ending July 10. Among adults 18-34 (0.5/02 vs. 1.1/05), LATE SHOW has cut 'The Tonight Show's' lead from -1.6 in Conan O'Brien's premiere week to -0.6 in the week ending July 10."

If NBC comes out with their own spin on the results, we'll keep you posted.

Macca provided New Yorkers with a nice treat, serenading them with a seven-song set atop the Ed Sullivan Theater's marquee. Watch the mini-concert on the "Late Show" web site.

Update: Here's NBC's version; guess what? It's all about the youth! "NBC's 'The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien' has delivered a decisive win for the week of July 6-10 in late-night's key demographic of adults 18-49, beating CBS's 'Late Show with David Letterman' on five of five nights. 'Tonight' also more than doubled 'Late Show' in the younger half of the key demo, adults 18-34." However, the New York Times' Bill Carter is not buying it, calling Letterman's ratings performance last week "impressive" and noting that "The 'Tonight' numbers represented a steep drop from those scored by Jay Leno a year ago in the same week. Mr. Leno’s 'Tonight' show had 4.6 million viewers, meaning Mr. O’Brien’s show has fallen by 38 per cent." But NBC is happy because O'Brien's viewers are younger. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Talk show Emmy nominations

The 61st Annual Emmy Award nominations were announced this morning, and here are the talk shows that got the nod:

The Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series nominees: "Late Show With David Letterman," "Real Time With Bill Maher," "Saturday Night Live," "The Colbert Report" and "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart."

Outstanding Writing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Series: "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," "Late Show With David Letterman," "Saturday Night Live," "The Colbert Report" and "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." This category was always a comic highlight of the Emmycast, since the writing staffs made their own goofy videos; while the award will still be given annually, unfortunately, it will now only be broadcast every other year. Boo, hiss, Emmy producers!

Stephen Colbert's "A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift Of All" was nominated for Outstanding Art Direction For Variety, Music Or Nonfiction Programming and Outstanding Picture Editing For A Special (Single Or Multi-Camera). The song "Much Worse Things" scored a nod for Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics. Personally, we would have gone for Colbert's duet with Jon Stewart, "Can I Interest You In Hannukah?" It'll be competing against, among others, the "Saturday Night Live" digital short tune "Motherlover" and Flight of the Conchords' "Unnatural Love."

"The Colbert Report"'s director Jim Hoskinson was nominated in the Outstanding Directing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Series category for the show that aired on Dec. 10, 2008. Chuck O'Neil of "The Daily Show" was nominated for directing the Aug. 26, 2008 episode, taped in Denver, CO during the Democratic National Convention. Jerry Foley was also acknowledged for directing "Late Show with David Letterman"'s June 3, 2008 show.

Two "Daily Show" editors were nominated for Outstanding Short Form Picture Editing: the Aug. 28 show from Denver (Einar Westerlund) and the July 31 episode (Graham Knox Frazier).

"The Daily Show" got yet another nod for its special web content in the Outstanding Special Class - Short-format Live-Action Entertainment Programs category. "'The Late Night with Jimmy Fallon' Digital Experience" was nominated for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media - Nonfiction, and "Jay Leno's Garage" was nominated in Outstanding Special Class - Short-format Nonfiction Programs.

The lighting directors of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "Late Show With David Letterman" were acknowledged in the Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic, Multi-Camera) For Variety, Music Or Comedy Programming category. In other technical awards, "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "Late Show With David Letterman" will compete in Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control For A Series.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Paul McCartney sits down with David Letterman next week

On Wednesday, July 15, Sir Paul McCartney will return to the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theater 45 years after he first played there with the Beatles. He will chat with Dave and perform a song to promote his upcoming U.S. tour.

It's McCartney's first-ever appearance on "Late Show." He's not a regular presence on talk shows, so this will be a rare treat. He did appear in a segment titled "Better Know a Beatle" on "The Colbert Report" back in January, and was a guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in 2005. As far as Talk Show News can determine, his last real late night talk show appearance was on "The Tonight Show" a few years ago -- along with then-fiancee Heather Mills. You can watch part of it on YouTube. Betcha he won't bring Mills along this time out.

High Def Craig: Ferguson spills the beans at a taping

Talk Show News has been following the saga of "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and why the heck it isn't broadcast in high definition, like its time slot competitors ("Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live"). There has been no official announcement, but thanks to a tipster who sent a link to this thread on AV Science Forum, it looks like Craig told his studio audience that the show will finally make the transition to HD in a few weeks:

I was in the studio audience last night (taping 7/8 for 7/9) and Craig informally announced that the LLS was taping ahead for August so that the studio (probably studio infrastructure) could be changed over to HD and not miss shows.
The show has been using Sony HD cameras for some time now, according to another AVS poster, who adds: "In fact, all stages in that facility use Sony HD cameras. What needs to be updated is the rest of the video infrastructure. It was their earliest digital SD studio using composite 4fsc & D2 tape, and it's the only one to use that format."

Of course, if and when CBS makes an official announcement, it will be posted here. C'mon CBS, we want to see stuff like this in all its high def glory:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Late Night Ratings: Michael Jackson beats Conan

Yes, that headline is a bit misleading, but let's be honest -- there's no way "Nightline" would be scoring such massive ratings if it weren't for its relentless coverage of Michael Jackson's death. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

The New York Times' Bill Carter reports that the Tuesday coverage of Jackson's memorial service brought "Nightline" a jaw-dropping 4.8 million viewers -- almost 2 million more than watched a new "Tonight Show" episode. What's more, "Late Show with David Letterman," with a well-publicized interview with "Bruno" star Sacha Baron Cohen, scored 3.9 million viewers.

Last night, according to the preliminary overnight ratings, "Nightline" won a 3.1 share, despite dropping the wall-to-wall Jackson coverage (it did feature one segment about the late singer). Letterman had a 3.0 share, and O'Brien came in third with a 2.4, despite a solid lead-in from NBC's summer smash "America's Got Talent." (Viewer numbers will be available later this afternoon.) Conan did beat Dave by 38 per cent in the 18-49 age group, 1.1 to 0.8. "But that rating was well below what Mr. O’Brien has been averaging in his 'Tonight' tenure so far," notes Carter.

Carter also speculates that Conan's week off after a mere four weeks on the air might have hurt his momentum: "His last week before the break he had averaged 3.7 million viewers to 3.5 million for Mr. Letterman. Last week, with both shows in repeats, Mr. Letterman had 3.6 million viewers to just 2.4 million for Mr. O’Brien." Of course, the Wimbledon highlights that delayed the start of "Tonight" were probably responsible for Conan's lower ratings.

While Tuesday's "Late Show" featured Cohen in a rare appearance as himself, as opposed to in character, the actor will bring Bruno to the Ed Sullivan Theater tonight: he'll be presenting a Top Ten List in his guise as the gay Austrian.

Here are the average viewer numbers for the week of June 29-July 3, from ABC.

ABC "Nightline": 4,020,000
CBS "Late Show" repeats: 3,580,000
NBC "Tonight" repeats (delayed due to Wimbledon highlights): 2,420,000

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jay Leno: Here come the cars

When his primetime show debuts in September, Jay Leno plans on making a grand entrance into his new, enormous studio: by driving one of his many automobiles right onto the stage.

According to this report, Jay, who is almost as famous for his love of cars as he is for "Jaywalking" and "Headlines," could be sharing more than just some of his own rare and vintage autos with the TV audience. It could also be a clever way for car companies to buy advertising time on the show.

"It's a natural because Leno is such a car freak; it's one thing people know and like about him," Barbara Lippert, ad critic for Adweek Media, told the Hollywood Reporter. "Products incorporated into a show go back a long way, and Leno is an old-fashioned guy. If that strategy takes off again, he's the one to do it, and no one would consider him a sellout."

Monday, July 6, 2009

More on Conan's young audience

Bill Carter of the New York Times has written an article examining the plummeting median viewer age of the "Tonight Show" audience under Conan O'Brien. It's a must-read for numbers junkies. "In Mr. O’Brien’s first month as host, the median age of 'Tonight Show' viewers has fallen by a decade — to 45 from 55, a startling shift in such a short time," he writes. "This audience composition means advertisers can now address almost exclusively young viewers on 'Tonight,' and NBC is already contemplating a shift in how it sells the show."

The piece reports that "Late Show with David Letterman" is up 50% among viewers over 50. But who cares about those oldsters? Not ad buyers! As John Rash, senior vice president of the Campbell-Mithun agency, told the Times, “All audiences have value, but the 18-to-49 audience has more value. You will make higher profits if you win with that audience. You can still say you’re the No. 1 show if you are more profitable.”

CBS' David Poltrack says he believes Letterman will eventually win the 35-to-54-year-old age group, and also points to Conan's declining ratings among female viewers. Of course, the article ends on a wait-and-see note; no one knows what'll happen in the fall, when Jay Leno will be back in the mix.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Late Night Ratings: "Nightline" beats Dave, Conan

Thursday is Ratings Day, and this week's press release comes from ABC (via

ABC News “Nightline” was #1 among Total Viewers for the week of June 22, 2009, outperforming NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” by 200,000 viewers and CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” by 430,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The last time “Nightline” bested both CBS and NBC among Total Viewers was election week, November 2008.
Alert readers will remember that the week of June 22 was a rather monumental week for news: Michael Jackson died on June 25, which allowed "Nightline" to devote two broadcasts last week to eulogizing him. Most Americans first became aware of co-anchor Martin Bashir through his infamous documentary about the superstar, "Living with Michael Jackson." The show also got a lot of publicity for its Wednesday broadcast about health care reform. "Nightline" was viewed by an average of 3 million people during the week of June 15, and 3.8 million during the week of the 22nd.

Meanwhile, in what is shaping up to be a weekly occurrence, NBC is crowing over Conan's demographic domination over its rivals. Talk Show News is getting really tired of reporting what is becoming a dog-bites-man story, but this headline from NBC is worthy of a chuckle: CONAN’S AUDIENCE IS MORE THAN 10 YEARS YOUNGER THAN ‘LATE SHOW’S,’ AND CONAN IS EVEN YOUNGER THAN HE WAS ON ‘LATE NIGHT’ FOR THE SAME WEEK LAST YEAR

Conan is even younger? Has he discovered the Fountain of Youth?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

High Def Craig: The news is that there is no news

This question comes through our inbox every so often, and a browse through the Talk Show News keyword stats show that a fair number of folks are searching for information on it:

"Is there any kind of hint that CBS' The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson will be making the jump to high-def anytime soon? I really wish it would happen soon, as I'm a big fan of Ferguson's show and his comedy style."

We addressed the HD question back in December, when neither Craig nor Jimmy Kimmel were shown in high definition. Of course, Kimmel's show switched over to HD in April. As for Craig... well, he's referred to his low budget talker as "madness on a shoestring."

A CBS publicist told Talk Show News that "[we] haven't announced any news yet" about the LLS going HD. They haven't announced it... does that mean they are planning for it? We only found out about the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" enhancements two weeks before it happened. In any case, they have promised to let Talk Show News know if and when the big news breaks, so stay tuned, Ferguson fans.