News of Prime-Time ‘Leno’ Drives Ratings for Late-Night ‘Leno’

Dec 18, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Last week’s announcement that NBC will be stripping Jay Leno in prime time at 10 p.m. helped lift the network’s late-night franchises to their biggest audiences in almost a year.
“The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” wrapped up the week of Dec. 8-12 with a 1.5 rating/6 share among viewers 18-49, reaching 5.6 million viewers. Last week’s performance marked “Leno’s” highest ratings since the week of April 28-May 2.
News of NBC keeping Leno at the network with a new prime-time weeknightly show broke Dec. 9, when “Leno” scored a 1.7 rating. That was his highest rating since Aug. 8, opening night of the Beijing Olympics.
“Late Night With Conan O’Brien” finished last week with a 0.8/5 (2.2 million), also helped by the news of Mr. Leno’s announcement, as Mr. O’Brien will take over “The Tonight Show” after Mr. Leno’s departure. “Conan’s” weekly average was his highest since the week of Feb. 11-15.
In terms of millions of viewers, both “Leno” and “Conan” reached their largest audiences since the week of Dec. 31-Jan. 4.
Both “Leno” and “Conan” beat their CBS competition for the week, as “Late Show With David Letterman” did a 1.2/5 (3.9 million) and “The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson” averaged a 0.6/4 (2.0 million).
Season to date, “Leno” leads “Letterman” by 18% among viewers 18-49 and by 25% in total viewers, while “Conan” beats “Craig” by 25% and 3%, respectively.

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