Late-Night Ratings: Letterman's Apology Delivers Strong Ratings
'Late Show' on Oct. 6 earned a 4.2/10, beating 'Nightline' and 'Tonight Show'
By Marisa Guthrie -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/6/2009 2:42:48 PM
David Letterman's act of contrition on Monday's Late Show garnered healthy tune-in for the late night host's first show since news of his sexual relationships with staffers and a subsequent alleged extortion plot by a CBS News producer became front page news last week.
Late Show posted a 4.2 household rating/10 share, beating ABC's Nightline, which posted a 3.2/7 for its half hour broadcast, and pummeling NBC's Tonight Show (1.7/4), according to preliminary numbers provided by Nielsen Media Research.
Letterman told viewers that his wife, Regina Lasko, has been "horribly hurt by my behavior," adding, "Let me tell you folks, I got my work cut out for me."
He also stated unequivocally that his affairs with underlings "are in the past."
It was the first show Letterman taped since the scandal broke Oct. 1 when Letterman revealed his affairs and an alleged blackmail plot on Late Show. At that time, Letterman said he would have no more comment about it. But the story only heated up over the weekend as details emerged about Letterman's affairs and his accused blackmailer, Robert "Joe" Halderman, a well-respected CBS News producer who worked on the program 48 Hours Mystery.
It would be a mistake to believe the higher ratings mean a greater success for Letterman. It's short-term curiosity, like slowing down for a 3-car pile-up. When the stories about his secret bedroom and as more women come forward with stories of quid-pro-quo activity, his ratings will eventually spiral down. Granted, a few sick people will let Dave have special "celebrity" rules of behavior, just as Hollywood-types defend Roman Polanski, but it will be hard for Dave to shake the self-imposed "creepy" adjective. Is he not a creep?
Doug - 10/7/2009 9:55:30 AM EDT
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