Late-Night Ratings Love Finally Coming to David Letterman

Last week David Letterman posted his largest weekly victory over The Tonight Show since 2000. Last week's Tonight Show posted its smallest audience since Letterman premiered in August 1993. Is Conan turning out to be a disappointment for NBC?

Not according to NBC! The network tilts at the numbers because Conan claims higher numbers in the coveted demographic of 18-34 year olds. It's true. But how long can they hold on to those Red Bull swilling Youngs? This isn't some single-time spurt. Letterman's numbers have been surging ever since Conan took over Jay Leno's old gig at the Tonight Show. And Letterman has been steadily narrowing the demographic gap. With the announcement of their Emmy nominations, CBS took the opportunity to gloat. From their "In your face, Conan! In. Your. Face." memo

CBS's LATE SHOW beat "The Tonight Show" by its largest margin in viewers since 2000, placed first in adults 25-54 (tie) and narrowed the margin in adults 18-49 opposite Conan O'Brien to just -0.3 of a rating point, according to Nielsen live plus same day ratings for the week ending July 10.

LATE SHOW beat "The Tonight Show" in households (2.6/07 vs. 2.0/05, +30%) and viewers (3.68m vs. 2.82m, +30%). It was LATE SHOW's largest margin of victory against an all first-run week of "Tonight Show" broadcasts in both households and viewers since the week ending Feb. 25, 2000 (the week David Letterman returned from heart surgery). LATE SHOW has also closed the gap with "The Tonight Show" in adults 25-54 (1.2/05) to a tie, CBS's closest competitive position since the week ending Dec. 2, 2005 (the week Oprah Winfrey appeared).

In adults 18-49 (0.8/04 vs. 1.1/05) , LATE SHOW continued to cut "The Tonight Show's"' lead: -1.4 in Conan O'Brien's premiere week, -0.6 in the week ending June 12, -0.5 in the week ending June 19 and -0.3 in the week ending July 10. Among adults 18-34 (0.5/02 vs. 1.1/05), LATE SHOW has cut "The Tonight Show's" lead from -1.6 in Conan O'Brien's premiere week to -0.6 in the week ending July 10.

Last night's broadcast, featuring Sir Paul McCartney, topped "The Tonight Show" by its largest margin since Oct. 16, 2008 (Sen. John McCain's appearance).

John McCain and Paul McCartney! Ah, the sweet smell of senility! It's a shame because we prefer the aromas of Conan's locker room late show.

[ Deadline Hollywood Daily ]