Late Night Ratings: Conan Gets Nationals Bump

Tops Letterman in metered markets Wednesday

With final Nielsen Nationals ratings in hand, NBC says that Conan O'Brien's first week on the air handily topped The Late Show with David Letterman. The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien averaged a 2.3 rating in the key 18-49 demo, compared to Letterman's 0.9. O'Brien topped Letterman in all major categories each night of the week.

While the first week of any late night show is not necessarily a good barometer for future success, it does appear that O'Brien has support among younger viewers, particular those in the 18-34 demo. O'Brien rated a 2.2 rating in that demo his first week, compared to Letterman's .6.

Letterman had his first apparent win over O'Brien Tuesday night, narrowly beating him in metered markets with a 3.4/8 compared to O'Brien's 2.9/7.

The evening was unusual, however, in that the Stanley Cup Playoffs ended at 8 p.m. on the West Coast, leading to local programming in primetime. That, as well as the NBA Finals running late on ABC and a special edition of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, could have sucked away the younger viewers O'Brien tends to attract.

Wednesday night O'Brien again beat Letterman in metered market household ratings, albeit barely, 3.2/8 to 3.1/8.