Possibly boosted by State of the Union coverage, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart posted its first weekly win over TBS’ Conan in adults 18-34, according to the network. Conan had a huge premiere in November, dominating the cable and broadcast late-night field for its first couple of weeks on the air, but The Daily Show has been steadily chipping away at Conan‘s ratings lead for the past two months. It has beaten Conan in total viewers every week since the beginning of December and in 18-49 every week since the beginning of January. For the month of January, The Daily Show is tops in viewers and 18-49, while Conan still has the edge in the 18-34 demo. However, Conan is hourlong and The Daily Show is a half-hour. If compared to the Daily Show/Colbert Report combo that airs in the same 11 PM-12AM slot, Conan is ahead in 18-34 and 18-49 while behind to the Comedy Central shows in total viewers. An interesting footnote – Versus January 2010, The Daily Show is up 9% in total viewers, while Conan is down 3% vs. the January 2010 performance of Lopez Tonight. Here are the standings of the cable late-night talk shows for January as released by Comedy Central (only original telecasts are included as Conan returned from the holiday a week later than most of the other shows, including The Daily Show):
From Ray Richmond, who is contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s TCA Coverage:
Speaking to the media en masse for the first time since landing last fall with his own late-night chatfest at TBS, Conan O’Brien expressed that he’s never been happier – so happy, in fact, that he no longer sees a need to fire shots at his longtime NBC teammate-turned-nemesis Jay Leno.
Meeting TV critics on the Warner Bros. set of his show as part of the semi-annual TCA event, Conan was asked if he ever saw any scenario where he would again speak to Leno. “No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I don’t think, I mean…there’s nothing to be figured out. We all know the story and we all know what happened. Life is short. I’ve got kids and a family and a life to live and I’m really happy here so I don’t think about it too much. And I’m sure he’s busy.”
Compare that dismissal to Conan’s reaction when it was pointed out he’d received a holiday phone call from David Letterman. “He wanted to know what I was wearing,” he quipped. “Sick man. No, it was just a quick call. We hadn’t spoken for a long time. He just called to basically say I haven’t checked in on you and just wanted to make sure we were good. I said, ‘We’ve always been good.’ I said, ‘You didn’t owe me a phone call, but I appreciate it.’ It …
According to TBS, Conan got a significant lift from DVR viewing for the period from its Nov. 8 premiere til the end of the year, adding some 361,000 18-49 viewers and 236,000 viewers in the 18-34 demographic. With the time-shifted viewer numbers included, Conan is topping the rankings of all late-night shows on broadcast or cable in the 18-49 and 18-34 demos. (He is behind his broadcast counterparts in total viewers.) Here are the lists:
It was widely expected but, since the weekly numbers for the broadcast late-night shows are not released until the following Thursday, Conan O’Brien’s weekly victory did not become official until today. For his first week on TBS, Conan drew a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49 vs. a 0.9 for Letterman and Leno, who were tied for a second straight week. Leno also tied the demo performance of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien the same week last year. In his current second week, Conan has been averaging a 1.0-1.1 demo rating, so he will probably once again top his broadcast rivals for the weekly victory.
Conan just wrapped his first week on TBS slightly above projections, with an average of 2.9 million total viewers, 2.2 million adults 18-49 and 1.5 million adults 18-34. His median age was 32, way younger than his latenight counterparts. “We couldn’t be happier with the great response from Conan’s fans,” said TNT and TBS’ EVP Michael Wright. “Conan is a big hit among young viewers, with a median age that is more than two decades younger than the show’s rivals on broadcast.”
Young demos have been Conan’s strength. Following his big Monday debut that attracted 4.2 million viewers – beating all latenight shows, broadcast and cable – he quickly …
After David Letterman in the last week of October posted his first demo win over Leno since Leno’s return to The Tonight Show, Leno bounced back to reclaim the lead in both 18-49 and total viewers for the first week of November. This marks Leno’s first solo first-place finish at the top of the 18-49 rankings in 5 weeks, as Leno and Letterman were tied for 3 weeks before Letterman won outright the week before last. In 18-49, Leno averaged a 1.0 rating vs. a 0.9 for Letterman. The same week last year, Letterman and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien were tied at 0.9. (In 18-49 viewers, Leno’s average was 1.26 million vs. 1.21 million for Conan last fall; Letterman’s was 1.20 million vs. 1.22 million last year.) The two may switch places again this week as Letterman dominated Leno on Monday night. Among total viewers, Leno averaged 3.9 million for the week, up from 2.3 million for Conan last fall; Letterman drew 3.7 million vs. 3.9 million last year. As for the third airing of Conan’s new latenight show on TBS, his ratings drops were far more moderate than the 33-42% between the premiere and night 2. Last night, Conan drew 2.7 million viewers, down only 3% from the night before. His 18-49 audience was 1.9 million, down 13%. In 18-34,he averaged 1.15 million, down 19%. Here are the averages for the broadcast latenight shows during the week of Nov. 1-5:
UPDATE 9:45AM: The fast nationals for Conan’s second show on TBS are in. It drew 2.8 million viewers, down 33% from its premiere audience and lower than its broadcast counterparts. Despite the decline, Conan is expected to once again dominate the young demos with 2.1 million viewers in 18-49 (down 35%) and 1.4 million in 18-34 (down 42%). Its median age stayed steady at around 30, probably still the youngest in latenight.
PREVIOUS 7:30AM: A ratings dropoff after the big Monday night premiere of Conan was inevitable: the question was how steep it was going to be. In the metered markets, the TBS show posted a 2.1 rating last night (when adjusted for Mountain time zone), down 28% from the premiere, which beat all latenight shows. Last night, Letterman drew a 3.0/8, Leno 2.5/7, and Nightline 3.2. More data will be available soon.
2ND UPDATE: It was a great opening for Conan O’Brien on TBS last night. The comedian’s eponymous talk show drew big 4.2 million viewers and massive 3.3 million adults 18-49 and 2.5 million in 18-34 to rank as the top-rated latenight show on TV – broadcast or cable – last night. This was an impressive 2/3+ of the audience he attracted for his debut on NBC’s The Tonight Show in May 2009. Conan ranked as the No.1 latenight talk show telecast of all time on basic cable, beating The Daily Show‘s Oct. 29, 2008 edition. It also topped all other latenight telecasts in basic cable history. The show’s median age was also impressive: 30, the lowest among all latenight shows and half of that for the big broadcast latenight franchises.
Conan towered over its direct competition, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1.3 million; 690,000 in 18-49) and The Colbert Report (1 million; 550,000 in 18-49) and also beat its broadcast counterparts, Leno (3.5 million, 952,000 in 18-49) and Letterman (3.4 million; 1.3 million in 18-49). While Leno and Letterman are not direct competitors as their airtime is shifted by a half-hour, beating soundly The Tonight Show must have been gratifying for Conan following his dismissal from the show 9 months ago. Despite having direct latenight show competition for the first time, The Daily Show was pretty resilient in total viewers, down a modest 13% from its season-to-date Monday viewer average. The hit was bigger in the 18-49 demographic, 21%. Colbert at 11:30 PM followed a similar pattern (down 12% in total viewers, 25% in 18-49 from its season average.) Stewart opened his show by congratulating O’Brien on his return to TV until he “realized” Conan was airing opposite him. (video below the chart.)
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