Despite Big Publicity Bump With Palin Controversy, Conan Beats Dave in All Demos; But in Total Viewers Conan Only Leads by 100K

Jun 18, 2009  •  Post A Comment

“The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” won every key demographic in its second week on the air, including adults, men and women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.

While the total viewers race was close, “The Tonight Show” beat timeslot competitor “Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS by 79% in adults 18-49 despite despite a storm of controversy surrounding Letterman and Gov. Sarah Palin. The show delivered an average 2.0 million adults 18-49 and 1.0 million adults 18-34. Conan has beat the “Late Show” in adults 18-49 every night so far since taking over “The Tonight Show.”

Conan also scored a tight win in total viewers with 3.8 million viewers versus Letterman’s 3.7 million total viewers. Letterman was in his closest competitive position to "The Tonight Show" since December 2005, with only 100,000 viewers separating the two.

While Conan dominated the demos, "Late Show" beat "The Tonight Show" in households and on three nights last week in viewers.

“Conan continues to out-perform our most optimistic expectations,” Rick Ludwin, executive VP of late night and primetime series for NBC Entertainment, said in a statement. “This business is all about delivering the key demographic groups, and for Conan to dominate every important demographic through his first two weeks is a real ratings home run.”

NBC continued to dominate the night last week with “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” outperforming CBS’ “Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” in all key demos. “Late Night” garnered 1.1 million adults 18-49, 606,000 adults 18-34 and 1.9 million total viewers versus “Late Late Show’s” 665,000 adults 18-49, 247,000 adults 18-34 and 1.7 million total viewers.

The program also out-delivered Letterman by 1% in adults 18-49 and by 61% in adults 18-34 despite airing later in the night at 12:35 a.m. ET.

Since following “The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien” starting two weeks ago, “Late Night” has beat “Late Late Show” by an average margin of 77% in adults 18-49, increasing from a 46% margin earlier this season.

–Vlada Gelman

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