The TBS promotional blitz for “Conan” during this year’s baseball playoffs, which featured the comedian in a blimp, wasn’t able to give the show much of a lift. Ratings for the late-night series, now into its second year, have settled in with about a 0.4 average in the 18-to-49 demo.
That’s way down from the numbers it generated during its first months on the air last fall during the flurry of excitement created by Conan O’Brien’s move to cable. The show’s ratings have dropped steadily since then.
Buoyed by that early interest, “Conan” by one measure averaged a 1.1 in the 18-to-49 demo over seven weeks in the fourth quarter of 2010. Over the ensuing three quarters, the average fell to 0.6, 0.5 and 0.4, although some drop-offs would be expected due to seasonal viewing patterns.
But even modest predictions about “Conan’s” long-term success may have fallen short. This season, his 0.4 average not only trails time-period cable competitors Jon Stewart (0.8) and Stephen Colbert (0.6), but E!’s Chelsea Handler (0.5), too.
TBS, however, has not given any indication that it is displeased with its investment.
“Conan” has a loyal audience and offers a big name for a comedy-oriented channel, while online viewing could give TBS an increased opportunity for monetization.
In “Conan’s” much-hyped premiere week in November 2010, the show averaged 2.2 million 18- to-49 year-olds -- down to 545,000 for the same week this fall.
“Conan’s” second week on TBS last year posted a 1.3 million average in the demo, which was down to 504,000 this year.