In Late-Night Talk Battle, 'Leno' Wins


About halfway through the season, NBC's late-night moves are still moving in the right direction. TNT's "Conan" continues to be a different story. 

NBC says through the first 20 weeks of the season "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" is up 42% to 3.9 million viewers; CBS'"Late Show with David Letterman" is down 14% to 3.6 million. While a significant improvement, the two shows on a long-term basis are much closer than they have been in their history.

Looking at the most recent week among 18-49 ratings, "Leno" delivered a 1.1 rating/4 share, while "Letterman" earned a 1.0/4. For the season, "Leno" is at a 1.0/4, while "Letterman" is at a 0.9/4. Even then, ABC's "Nightline" still beats both shows -- an average 4.0 million total viewers and a 1.1/4 in 18-49 viewers.

Late-night cable shows are less competitive. The not-so-surprising winner is Turner's Adult Swim block of shows. The young-skewing network pulls in 2.4 million viewers between 11:30 p.m. and 12:30 p.m., with a 1.0 rating among 18-49 viewers.



Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" is next at 1.6 million viewers and a 0.7 rating among 18-49 viewers. Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" gets a 1.1 million and a 0.5 rating among 18-49 viewers.

After that comes TBS' "Conan" -- 1.0 million viewers and a 0.5 rating among 18-49 viewers (around 700,000) -- numbers that have fallen dramatically from its launch last November. Looking at the second week of "Conan," the show pulled in 1.7 million total viewers and 1.3 million 18-49 viewers. TBS executives have said the show is viable at around 1 million 18-49 viewers.

In later talk show hours, from 12:00 a.m. to 1 a.m., ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel" is at a 1.7 million and 0.5/3 among 18-49 viewers. At 12:35 to 1:35 a.m., NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" pulls in 1.8 million viewers and a 0.7/4 for 18-49 viewers. CBS' "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" draws 1.8 million viewers and a 0.5/3 for 18-49.

On cable nighttime slots, TBS' "Lopez Tonight" from midnight to 1 a.m. gets 600,000 total viewers for a 0.3 rating, while Adult Swim, airing at 12:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., pulls 1.4 million viewers and a 0.6 18-49 rating.

1 comment about "In Late-Night Talk Battle, 'Leno' Wins".
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  1. Harry Hutt from Hutt Sports Marketing, February 14, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.

    What are the overall rating numbers for leno, Letterman and Conan ? Would like to see those instead of just the 18-49 rating. Remember, there are a bunch of people over the age of 49 who watch Leno.

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