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):
UPDATE 1 PM: The Daily Show‘s monthly average only includes original telecasts as is the practice in cable. Meanwhile, the averages for the broadcast late night shows include all telecasts, original and repeats. Both Letterman and Leno had one dark week in October. Still pretty impressive result for The Daily Show but it is fair to compare apples to apples.
PREVIOUS: This is a major achievement for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and possibly an indication of a sea change in latenight that has been brewing for awhile as younger viewers have been gradually migrating from broadcast to cable. Traditionally dominant among young men and adults 18-34, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart finished the month of October as the No. late night talk show in the big boys’ demo of Adults 18-49. This is the first time that any late night talk show other than The Tonight Show or Late Night with David Letterman has claimed the top spot in the key demographic. Of course, Daily Show‘s October numbers got a boost from the show’s coverage tied to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear last weekend and all the publicity surrounding the event. But with broadcast latenight shows’ audiences aging along with their hosts, they have been consistently losing ground to hipper upstarts such as Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Things will get even more interesting next week when Conan O’Brien enters the fray on TBS. The bar for him is not very high as the show he will replace in the 11 PM hour on TBS, Lopez Tonight, is currently the lowest-rated latenight show on any network. Here are all entertainment late night shows’ 18-49 rankings for October: