‘Leno’ Retains Late-Night Lead Despite Gains by ‘Letterman’

Dec 23, 2004  •  Post A Comment

The late-night ratings wars continued to prove interesting during the week of Dec. 13-17, with NBC’s lineup continuing to lead and CBS’s “Late Show With David Letterman” continuing to show increasing strength. On Monday nights, “Letterman” has beaten or tied “Tonight” in at least eight of the past 10 weeks.

According to data from Nielsen Media Research, NBC’s “Tonight Show With Jay Leno” averaged 5.85 million viewers for the week, down 5 percent year to year, while “Late Show” averaged 4.71 million, up some 20,000 viewers from a year ago.

Season to date, “Late Show” continues to shrink the gap between itself and “Tonight,” from 1.84 million for the first 13 weeks of the 2003-04 season to 1.08 million for the first 13 weeks of the 2004-05 season.

At 12:35 a.m., NBC’s “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” averaged 2.4 million viewers to lead “The Late Late Show” on CBS (1.8 million viewers). ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel” averaged 1.7 million viewers.

The latest of the late-night shows, NBC’s “Last Call With Carson Daly,” averaged 1.4 million viewers.