The late-night race is getting closer. A lot closer.
"The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien" beat "Late Show with David Letterman" Monday– but just barely. According to major market overnight Nielsen numbers, "Conan" notched a 3.1/8, just ahead of "Letterman’s" 3.0/8. It was easily the smallest margin of victory for O’Brien since he took over "Tonight" a week ago.
Letterman got a boost Monday from one of his most popular guests: Howard Stern. O’Brien, meanwhile, lacked major starpower, making due with David Duchovny and Anna Friel.
These are overnight household numbers, of course. NBC (and late night insiders) are looking to Thursday, when Nielsen releases the first demographic data on the new "Tonight." The hope at NBC is that while some older viewers might have left "Tonight" post-Jay Leno, younger viewers might be coming on board.