CBS Serves Ace, With Asterisk

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CBS touted a first-time-ever victory Friday for late-night host Craig Ferguson over NBC’s Conan O’Brien in viewers. But there was a catch: NBC’s late night programming for the week ended July 1 consisted of reruns delayed by Wimbledon tennis tournament broadcasts.

CBS’ The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, which was in originals, finished the week with 1.93 million viewers, slightly ahead of Late Night With Conan O’Brien’s 1.92 million viewers, according to Nielsen ratings. Late Late posted a 1.5 household rating/5 share, essentially even with Late Night’s 1.5/6.

The O’Brien reruns aired at 12:52 a.m. Monday to Thursday last week and at 1:07 a.m. on Friday. The NBC show normally airs at 12:35 in the same slot as CBS’ Late Late.

That said, it was only the second time ever that Late Late essentially matched Late Night in households. The first time? Late Late’s second episode ever, which aired Jan. 20, 1995.

For its part, NBC points out that Conan prevailed in the 18-49 and 18-34 demos, despite the repeats and delays.

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