Thursday, April 8, 2010

Late Night Ratings: Leno wins again

After over a month back on the air, it seems clear that the audience which used to watch Jay Leno at 11:30 PM has fallen back into the habit. Leno was #1 again last week (March 29-April 2), winning 1 million more viewers than "Late Show with David Letterman."

Here are the total audience numbers (and here are the numbers from earlier in March, for those who want to compare and contrast):

NBC “Tonight,” 4.2 million viewers
CBS “Late Show,” 3.2 million viewers
ABC “Nightline,” 3.7 million viewers

“Tonight” also won the week over “Late Show” by a margin of 25 percent in viewers aged 18-49.

(Speaking of "Tonight," sharp-eyed viewers watching last night's musical segment might have noticed a Team Coco badge on guitarist Slash.)

In the later time slots, Craig Ferguson beat Jimmy Fallon in the ratings, and even in the 18-24 demographic, Jimmy was only ahead by a relatively small margin: 322,000 viewers vs. 278,000.

ABC “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” 1.6 million viewers
NBC “Late Night,” 1.6 million viewers
CBS “Late Late Show,” 1.7 million viewers

In case anyone is curious how the Leno "Tonight" is faring compared to the Conan-era show, here is a post from back in October 2009. During that week, 4.4 million viewers tuned in to Letterman and 2.4 million chose Conan. Sorry, Team Coco -- it's looking like NBC made the right call. Of course, I'll be looking forward to hearing how O'Brien does during his live shows, which kicks off Monday in Eugene, OR.


  1. Keonyn said...

    That doesn't mean NBC made the right call at all. Frankly, as far as I'm concerned, NBC didn't make a single right call since the very start.

    All this means is the people who had a habit of watching Leno went back to that habit. It doesn't mean NBC made the right call because Conan never got to the point where he could build up his viewership. Had they dumped Leno when he first started and gave the show back to a returning Carson, the result would have been much the same, and it could be said they made the right call there too.

  2. Talk Show News said...

    Remember that the TV business today -- in fact, one could say American business in general -- is all about the short term, the next quarter. One million more people are watching NBC at 11:35 now than were watching it a a few months ago. Remember how the NBC execs said they were going to give "The Jay Leno Show" at least a year to find its footing because "it's a marathon, not a sprint"? See how quickly they backtracked on that.